Coming to theatres from writers/director DK Welchman, Hugh Welchman and Sony Picture Classics is a story of forbidden love and a life of no choices with THE PEASANTS.
The young and beautiful Jagna (Kamila Urzedowska) is a talented artist who is constantly talked about by the 19th century Polish villagers. Stories are being told by the men of the village and Jagna just ignores them having only heart for Antek Boryna (Robert Gulaczyk) who is married. The leader and richest farmer in town is Antek’s father Maciej (Miroslaw Baka) who has recently lost his wife.
It comes to his attention that the women of the village are suggesting he remarry and after going down a list of candidates, Jagna’s name is put forward. Daughter Hanka (Sonia Mietielica) is not happy to think that Jagna will be living with them and wearing her mother’s beautiful clothes and Antek fights with his father and is kicked out of the home. When a deal for land of Jagna’s own is struck, down goes the vodka and a wedding happens quickly.
There is nothing Jagna can do but accept her life as Maciej’s wife while still being talked about by the villagers but in much lower tones to keep from upsetting the new groom. When tragedy strikes, Jagna’s life becomes one trauma after the other. The only one who sees this is Mateusz (Mateusz Rusin) who wants to save Jagna before anything else can possibly happen to her.
But once an idea is in the minds of the villagers – nothing and no one is going to stop it from its path of destruction.
Urzedowska as Jagna is beautiful and a free spirit who just wants to be happy in her life without being told who to love. When it becomes clear that a deal has been struck for her life, she is not a happy bride but instead a stoic woman following along with the rituals of the village. Urzedowska is stunning in this role as she portrays the downsize of being young, beautiful and a free spirit in a time when women had no say so in their own lives. So well done!
Gulaczyk as Antek has fallen hard for Jagna and has put his own family, including his father, into the gossip soup of the village. Tearing a family apart for love, Antek can afford to become the talk of the town with no consequences, unlike Jagna. Gulaczyk gives his character a bit of obsession, a bit of cowardice and a bit of rage and tops it with no accountability. The 19th and 21st century are not so far apart with this character’s issues.
Baka as Maciej is a man who takes his village power seriously. As the top farmer in the village, he has a great deal of say about what happens. When he decides to marry Jagna, it sets up anger from his own family but doesn’t stop the rumors from flying. Baka’s performance is that of an insecure man who has so many layers that are hidden behind power.
Mietielica as Hanka is a daughter who is already angry that her father has taken on a younger wife who will take her mother’s place. She wants the family’s reputation, farm and wealth to stay intact and not fall into the hands of Jagna. The one thing I can say about Mietielica’s portrayal is that she is not going to be swayed by anyone, including her family, about how she feels.
Shout out to Mateusz as Rusin as a man who truly cares for Jagna and when the village goes rogue, it is this character who sees who Jagna truly is. I just love Mateusz’s character because he is consistent in his belief that the village is in some need of common sense.
Other cast include Cyprian Grabowski as Witek, Ewa Kasprzyk as Marcjanna, Cezary Lukaszewics as Michal, Dorta Stalinska as Jagustynka, Andrzej Konopka as the Mayor, Andrzej as Kuba, Helena Korczycka as Jozka, Sonia Bohosiewicz as the mayor’s wife, Maciej Musial as Jasio, Anna Grzeszczak as Magda, Malgorzata as Organiscina, and Lech Dyblik as Jambrozy.
Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit www.sonyclassics.com.
THE PEASANTS is a stunning story being told but what adds an even more mind-blowing element is the painted animation technique of the film. The telling is over four seasons that are captured in such rich depth of color. This is the same used in the film LOVING VINCENT which is also a personal favorite of mine. This film took over five years and 200,000 hours to flawlessly complete.
The Welchman’s know exactly what they are doing when it comes to creating such elegant cinematography lovingly wrapped in a fantastic story of love, gossip and treachery. Once the story comes to a jaw-dropping crescendo, the ending will either leave you totally drained or wanting to stand out in the rain.
In the end – her life is in seasons!