" For your information, my life is a living Hell "
— Elizabeth Hurley (as the devil), Bedazzled

MRQE Top Critic

The Great Train Robbery

(review...)

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Facets video has a substantial library of Polish films. I haven’t found one yet that has risen to the top, but many provide an interesting glimpse of the latter days of Communist rule.

Big and little clash in Drawerland
Big and little clash in Drawerland

Kingsize is a fantasy film, made in the late 1980s (the synth-pop soundtrack will clue you in). There is a tribe of mouse-sized people who live in “Drawerland,” which is really the filing cabinets of a long-forgotten office. One of their tiny scientists has developed a formula that will enlarge them to full-sized, normal human beings. (They call our world “Kingsize.”)

The leaders of Drawerland (among them, Jerzy Stuhr) are worried that if the formula is made widely available, their entire population may disappear forever. So the politicians and conservatives want to suppress the formula to keep the populace from fleeing into the larger world. If you wanted to, you could say that Kingsize is an allegory for life under a Communist regime before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Or you could say that it’s just a silly fantasy movie with cute special effects.

And I was often amazed at how good the special effects were. Obviously the film was made on a limited budget (at least by Hollywood standards), but it’s surprising how freeing and inspiring that can be. Most of the “special effects” are simple sets and props. Repeatedly, I would be convinced by the texture and shape of some tiny (and/or gigantic) object. For example, in Drawerland, someone uses a sheet of paper as a blanket. The oversize prop has the exact right stiffness of a real sheet of paper, while still appearing to be as light as a leaf.

My own interest in Kingsize is that I’ve interviewed Jerzy Stuhr and found him to be a fascinating actor. If not for his role, I could have easily missed this movie. And to be honest, all in all, I probably wouldn’t have missed much. But one never knows until one tries.