A film’s music is often its intelligence, and when this music preempts the movie to lead us by the ear it betrays a lack of faith in its own image. So when typical love-scene chords are struck the first time father Adam (Andrzej Chyra) meets with a Jesus-resembling village teen, the film willingly foregoes its mysteries. Since the music has already revealed father Adam’s homosexuality, it’s a wonder why it then expends its energies to deceive us into thinking that he might sleep with the temptress housewife of a colleague who runs a boys home with him.
The film’s energy is funneled into constructing Adam’s inner dilemma as the film’s core, around which all the other characters revolve. His colleague who later betrays him exists to be forgiven by Adam, his colleague’s wife to be rejected by him, his pupils to be desired or assisted. The paper men which surround father Adam are so thin, that when the event threatening to occur does, and he finally sleeps with the enamored boy it matters as little to him as it does to us.
Even within the films self-plotted space it takes no position be it on faith, on the church, on homosexuality in the preisthood, a neutrality far more forgivable than its complacently neutral aesthetic. Its images prefer please in order to tell the story, playing in the safe fields of already-seen-before narrative cinema, lacking the courage to risk making the film poorly for the chance of perhaps sticking its finger in the wound.
Aiming for motion, action, energy, the camera’s movements reveal a wasteful cinematic insecurity, full of filmic clichés, pretty shots, and too little mise-en-scene for too much narrative effort. Even the film’s sun- and cricket -filled estival season feels wrong for the events, especially considering its origination from a country replete with dreary landscapes and emburdening skies. (Was it shot in summer to take advantage of the longer days? Did the script have no season?)
The film is however not without its saving grace – the illuminated gaze of actor Andrzej Chyra whose jittery blue eyes contain in one frame more soul than the sum of all those gazes.
In the name of… (W imię…)
Poland 2012, 102 min
Director: Małgorzaty Szumowskie