After ‘PLAGROUND’s World Premieres in competition at San Sebastian, most of the press assure that Kowalski’s fiction debut leaves nobody indifferent. “If San Sebastian were to give a prize this year for its most shocking film, PLAYGROUND would surely be the clear winner” claimed Variety. The division of opinion was huge, while some people loved it, others had to leave the screening before the end. What it’s clear is that the movie makes you think about this controversial issue.
It kicks off with its Polish director, Bartosz Kowalski, displaying his documentary origins by chronicling, seemingly in real time, three teens having breakfast before heading off to their school for its end-of-year speech day. One girl lives in a luxury chalet in a leafy conurbation; a boy lives in what looks like public housing with his wheelchair-bound father; and another boy lives in a slum, with his wailing baby brother, indifferent elder sibling and exhausted mother.
Bartosz M. Kowalski, PLAYGROUND’s director, spoke with Variety about the film:
“Playground” records one act of sudden, shocking violence so ghastly that it was the first time that this journalist can remember not being able to look at the screen. The film begins documenting the breakfasts of the two perpetrators of that violence, high school students. You could say that both…are hugely hostile towards a parent and may feel unloved. That said, that is just not enough of an explanation for what they do. The film suggests…that there may not be a total explanation.
Kowalski: Child psychopathy (we should call it “conduct disorder”) poses dozens of questions but hardly gives any definitive answers. That’s the scariest thing about it. Of course there are hints that might suggest reasons behind such acts of violence, but it is all complex speculation. Broken home, broken heart, sibling’s death, aggressive father, video games, violent movies and so on….The list of stereotypical suppositions goes on forever. Anything could be a possible cause of a sudden act of violence.
But at the same time, not everyone whose parents’ divorce becomes a criminal. Not everyone who plays violent games goes out on a rampage. I’m a huge horror movie buff since I was little, but that never led me to hurting animals or fellow human beings. So maybe it is all human nature, maybe some people are just born evil, or maybe it’s a bit of both. I don’t know. There is no definitive answer. And that is terrifying.
What made you want to make “Playground”?
Kowalski: The film is inspired by true events from about 15 years ago. I came across that story by pure accident and it left me absolutely shocked. I couldn’t comprehend it. Why was there no explanation? That’s when I started researching the subject and realized that things like that happen everywhere, every day, that we share this world with human beings like characters from “Playground,” whether we like it or not. The more I’ve read about similar cases the more devastated I was. I guess I wanted to try to share these emotions and one day I just sat down and started typing the script.
Click here to read the whole interview from VARIETY!
Congratulations to all the cast and crew for their amazing work and we wish the best of luck at the Award Ceremony Gala next Sunday!