I was fascinated and challenged from the moment this film started. At first I thought it was going in and out of focus or maybe the theater reel was just a bit off on timing – finally it dawned on me I was watching 2D Animation. Artist oil pastel renderings over each frame of footage. Once I accepted the challenge it presented for holding my attention visually while listening to the audio – I marveled at the approach and begin to enjoy the storytelling. Especially the haunting soundtrack filled with original music by Polish music producer/rapper/composer L.U.C. (aka Lukasz Rostkowski) and the Rebel Babel Film Orchestra. I could have sworn that KITKA had performed some of the vocals but could not find any reference in reviews to confirm that. Seek The Peasants out in theaters now and eventually on streaming sites.

The village has a few characters who play a significant part in Jagna’s journey from plausible innocence to a conclusion that there are no boundaries to how much misery humans can inflict on each other, especially when times are hard. There is brief nudity and violence – on the whole its beautiful storytelling with a brutal, colorful twist.

I have since learned that the same creative team produced a 2D animated film called Loving Vincent about Vincent Van Goghs’ last days before his death. Comparing trailers of both films you can see the vast advancement in execution by 2023.

The film is an adaptation of a Nobel-Prize winning novel about a late 19th century Polish peasant woman who creates havoc by marrying an older rich man. Jagna is a young woman determined to forge her own path in a late 19th century Polish village – a hotbed of gossip and on-going feuds, held together, rich and poor, by adherence to colorful traditions and deep-rooted patriarchy.

The Peasants is written and directed by DK Welchman & Hugh Welchman and stars Kamila Urzedowska, Robert Gulaczyk and Mirosław Baka.

THE PEASANTS is a Sony Pictures Classics release, runs 114 minutes, is in Polish and Latin with English subtitles, and is rated R. 

About the filmmakers: 
DK Welchman – Director

A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, awarded the Minister of Culture scholarship for special achievements in painting and graphics four times. Upon graduation, DK became interested in film and animation, and directed 5 short films before her first feature film, the Oscar-nominated LOVING VINCENT. Filmography LOVING VINCENT, 2017, Feature LITTLE POSTMAN, 2017, Short CHOPIN’S DRAWINGS, 2017, Short SWIADEK CZASU, 2006, Documentary SERCE NA DLONIE, 2006.

Hugh Welchman – Director
Co-wrote and directed LOVING VINCENT with his wife DK Welchman (formerly Dorota Kobiela). The film grossed $43 million at the international box office and was nominated at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and for an Academy Award. Previously Hugh won an Oscar for Best Short Animation for producing BreakThru Film’s Peter and the Wolf. g

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