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November 05, 2010

Starz Denver Film Festival 2010 - Erratum


Marek Lechki - 2010
Harmony Films/Polish Film Institute

I wasn't to certain if I understand what the word "erratum" means, but I came upon this record label, which sort of fits in with the film. The main character, Michal, has been identified as a former musician. Until he walk into this large, cavernous building, there is no indication of what kind of music he played. It turns out that the band he founded, and left, plays some kind of music that can't rightfully be called jazz, and to call it experimental might belie the obvious structure and formal qualities that feature several atonal instruments. Erratum is kind of like the music in that scene, in that the narrative loosely follows a structure, even when nothing markedly dramatic happens.

For the flimsiest of reasons, Michal, an accountant, is asked by his boss to pick up a specially ordered car and drive it back. The car is in the town where Michal grew up. Whatever feelings Michal may have about the town do not include nostalgia. Michal is urged by his wife to see his father. The idea of tenuous family bonds family bonds are already indicated by Michal's relationship with his own family. There is already a sense that Michal's going to his old home town is not a good idea. Michal's plan to simply take the train to town, pick up the car, and drive overnight to deliver the car, are tossed aside by a road accident.

What follow are a series of events where Michal is forced to reconnect with his father, his former best friend, and a friend of the family. Parallel to this is Michal's taking on for himself to discover the identity of the derelict he has hit by accident, connecting a man whom no one can clearly identify, discovering that man's family, and his past. There are no revelations, or tearful reconciliations to be found here. Erratum might be said to be more about simply making peace with one's past, including all mistakes.

There isn't much at this time to be found on Marek Lechki at this time. That will probably change soon. Erratum has been racking up awards not only in native Poland, but also more recently in film festivals in Chicago and Pusan. This is Lechki's first feature. In a film where several of the characters are, or were, musicians, I did find out that Lechki has also had a history of playing what has been described in Polish Wikipedia as alternative music. Perhaps approaching Erratum as a somewhat abstract musical work may be best for this film. In this way, the viewer is like Michal, surrendering expectations and allowing things to reveal themselves at their own pace.

(Viewed as DVD screener)

Posted by peter at November 5, 2010 06:42 AM