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  Naked: A Psychological Film, The Do You Find It Cold In Here?
Year: 2002
Director: Witold Swiêtnicki
Stars: Anna Pudlowskia, Barbara Gasior, Agnieszka Pasko, Irena Kolodziej, Waldemar Plotek, Donuta Sokalska, Milosz Turowksi, Maks Turowski, Beata Bodniak, Tomasz Kolodziejczyk, Jerzy Grobel, Malgorzata Kaca
Genre: Comedy, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's another day at the office, and new girl Marta (Agnieszka Pasko) has just started this morning, but is already feeling the pressure of being ordered about by the older staff. The phone doesn't stop ringing, and when Mrs Krysia (Anna Pudlowska) answers it, it is someone asking if this is the bank because he has a bomb, but she dismisses this as a wrong number. Then a man arrives at the door asking where he can get his tiny dog vaccinated, but it has to be explained to him that this is not a vetenarian's, although not before the yapping dog has an unfortunate encounter with the chief (Jerzy Grobel). The incidents continue to pile up and Marta wonders if anyone here will ever get any work done...

Joining the long and distinguished line of experimental films from Eastern Europe was Gosaly, or in English, The Naked, which was described as being like British sitcom The Office if everyone was Polish and naked. Yes, nobody wears any clothes in this film, apparently to make us approach the workplace politics in the film in a new way, to see the "truth" of the situation as director Witold Swiêtnicki and his co-writer Krysztof Jaworski said. It's actually more silly than funny, and the plot is deliberately banal as if we were watching a cheap soap opera, not unlike the one that the characters enjoy watching on television.

The fact that everyone's nude throughout this shot-on-video work should make you think that you'll get used to it after a while, and there are very few of the cast that you would be particularly keen to see naked as most are baggy, middle aged and would look better with their clothes on, but if they were wearing their clobber then I guess they'd have to change the title of the film and the gimmick would be gone. However, you never really do get used to it as it's pretty distracting, meaning the action becomes strangely compelling, more so if it had been simply set in a nudist camp, for example.

The drama, which may be a comedy, it's difficult to tell, takes in a lot of gossip as the characters sit around drinking coffee and chatting about each other, who has lost weight, who is attracted to whom, and so forth. But added to that are more bizarre elements such as the chief developing rabies from the dog bite and having to be restrained by police, something the staff watch on television. We see an extract from the soap opera called The Surgeons, and it's even more mundane than the main storyline, although Mrs Krysia claims the lead actor's thin and reedy voice is "wonderful" - one of many absurdities. It all builds to an explosive climax where one character eventually snaps, and the non professional actors used here merely enhance the atmosphere of suffocating triviality, supposedly a comment on numbing bureaucracy. Maybe it's funnier if you're Polish.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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