The world can be a lonely, difficult place, and that is especially true for those in times of struggle, working tough jobs that make ends meet, but sometimes, just barely. So many of us know that struggle, and this is even more true for those who are challenged in some way. The Dress knows that, and this incredible film brings to the life the ideal of wanting something, anything that will help break up the monotony of life and its tribulations.
An incredible film from Poland, writer and director Tadeusz Łysiak shines a light on those who live through struggle and discrimination, trying to live a normal life in a society that refuses to give them that opportunity. The Dress sees the trials that life puts people through, and the difficulties that can be added on to that if you’re born different.
The thirty minute film focuses on Julka (Anna Dzieduszycka), a woman born with achondroplasia (better known as dwarfism), as she toils through the lonely life of working and living in rural Poland. She pushes through her days as a maid at a motel, with only her friend and co-worker Renata (Dorota Pomykala) to act as a sounding board. Julka is an incredibly fascinating and complex person, hardened by a life of ridicule but still yearning for intimacy and love. What she’s suffered through because of her condition has hardened her, but that doesn’t negate the very real feelings and desires so many of us have. This is made especially apparent when Julka’s life is impacted by the attention of a truck driver named Bogdan (Szymon Piotr Warszawski), who takes an interest in her.
There’s an interesting juxtaposition to this film, like there is to life. Society is cruel and demeaning to Julka, her condition making her the subject of abuse from the people around her. But the attention of Bogdan brings out a sort of hope in her, this small form of intimacy showing her a part of life she’s so rarely seen. It’s not a happy film, but there are genuine moments of joy in The Dress, though, as in life, they are cut short by moments of hardship and extreme life events. Without saying too much about it, there are moments that spark fear and anger at how Julka is treated, even if there are also so many moments that make you root for her, as well.
The Dress hits hard, but in the ways its meant to. Łysiak set the film to focus on the life of Julka, but to have it be more of a message about society as a whole, and their treatment of those who are different than them. It’s a tough but necessary message, and while this story doesn’t skim over the darker aspects of life, it also doesn’t keep things in full shadow.
It is easy to see why this film has gotten so much attention and awards buzz. There’s something special about it, certainly. The cast is fantastic, the story is heart-wrenching but utterly gripping and it is absolutely worth the watch. Be sure to check out more about this film, as well as so many others, only on BitPix!