Communion Screen 6 articles

Communion

2016

Communion Poster
  • The first bad film I've seen from this year's True/False lineup, and even this isn't exactly an outright dud. It's well-made and not without its own limited form of empathy. But Communion is one of those opportunistic documentaries that somehow gains seemingly limitless access to a dysfunctional family and just watches it collapse on itself. But the truth is, Communion is a bit worse than normal. We're essentially watching 70 minutes of child neglect.

  • Watching someone this young get emotionally torn apart by relentless responsibility is tough. Even more unsettling, religious doctrine and state run agencies fail to assuage Ola’s pain. When you’re caught between and a rock and a hard family, sometimes achieving momentary calm is the only major victory.

  • More candid about its pedigree, but no less artfully contrived, Anna Zamecka’s debut feature Communion, also from Poland, is an affecting portrait of the Kaczanowskis. . . . Given the natural rapport between sister and brother, it’s no surprise the film has won many awards for best documentary. Yet while there is no diminishing the conviction of the siblings’ exchanges, we might wonder how much the presence of a camera and a director affected their “performances.”

  • A youth jury awarded their Young Eyes Film Award to another of the main competition’s strongest films, Anna Zamecka’s Komunia (Communion). It shows young Polish teen Ola as she is forced into a role beyond her years holding the household together and guiding her autistic brother to study for his first Communion, while her alcoholic father and absent mother – who is absorbed with another relationship – offer little support. Humour, frustration, determination: all inspired the jury in their prize.

  • The director’s unique sensitivities to the situation, powerful performances from her young protagonists, and use of sophisticated and precise cinematic language have made for a transcendent and highly accomplished film – one that was shot in only 35 days over the course of a year, mostly within the confines of a very small apartment.

  • Zamecka’s debut feature unfolds in a measured and unvarnished style that reflects her anthropologist’s eye. . . . In her captivating and unsettling portrait of lost youth, Zamecka follows her destitute subjects with a patient and intimate observational style, imbuing the narrative with a palpable tension and touching upon her film’s many emotional notes with a quiet grace.

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