MEDIA LUNA NEW FILMS (2020)
Director: Daria Woszek
Starring: Grazyna Misiorowska , Helena Sujecka , Janusz Chabior, Magdalena Kolesnik, Barbara Kurzaj, Pawel Smagala
Fantasia Festival 2020 Selection
From Poland comes Marygoround, Daria Woszek’s offbeat comedy about fifty-year-old Mary (Misiorowska) and her struggle with menopause pain, herself and dealing with a late-blossoming sexual awakening. She’s an isolated lady, only emerging from her home to collect her hormone therapy and to work at the local grocery store but when her spirited niece Helena (Sujecka) comes to stay after a failed relationship; Mary finds the impulses and curiosities that once lived inside her mind now starting to show outwardly.
With a zippy runtime of eighty-minutes, Marygoround doesn’t waste time over-expositing and dives straight into the core focus of the narrative – Mary’s turmoil. She works in a near-cartoonish grocery store with a varied collection of colleagues – one who is overly-sexual, another who seems to have more than passing interest in Mary – and one splashed in bright colours which is a major contrast to her darkly-lit, antiquated apartment packed full of Virgin Mary statues. In a world surrounded by sex and romance, Mary is a fifty year old virgin who at one point rescues a Virgin Mary statuette from a litter bin to add to her growing collection. The statues play a large part throughout, obviously there is the obvious allusion to Mary herself being a virgin but also it seems like a cry for divine intervention from someone in the sky and the collecting of said statues seems to be the highlight of Mary’s confined existence. Performance-wise, Graznya Misiorowska is entirely compelling as Mary, she delivers a dual understated and emotive performance that makes us want to root for her even when her decision-making isn’t always perfect. As the titular character, the movie lives or dies by her performance and, crucially, she is very strong. The black comedy lands more often than not, at times relying on expressions as opposed to dialogue, but the levity works excellently alongside the rest of the movie – the overall tone is slightly off-kilter which absolutely plays to the strengths of Marygoround. There’s an excellent and fairly terrifying dinner scene later in the movie with a young man Mary meets and, later, Helena too (who at this point has a lot more on her plate than she did at the start of the movie) which straddles many moods and sets up a wholly satisfying finish.
Boasting some great comedy, an oddly heightened sense of reality and constantly intriguing, Marygoround is a wonderful surprise.
August 24th 2020