Spoor, 2017, by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik

Lighthouse Section

Black Canvas 2017

What is an ecosystem? The concept that binds us as individuals to all the manifestations of nature is relatively recent in science, but has accompanied Homo sapiens since his body embraced the caverns like a shell. In fact, for the age of the earth, science is extremely recent, incipient. However the intuitions that connect us with a greater biological totality have always existed. What happens, then, when man loses that connection that bound him to the complexity of life on earth, even to the cosmos?

Agnieszka Holland, who leads a life directing films among which classics such as Europa Europa, 1990; or TV series like The Wire, 2004 or House of Cards, 2015, unleashes a suggestive ecological thriller in Spoor. In a small community in the wooded Klodzko Valley in southwest Poland has lost that connection, that sensitivity that connects it with its surroundings. The traces and violence of the social past patriarchal fascism, appear in the most influential men of the people, but now directed towards their own natural environment. These are cruel hunters who assume and even enjoy the hunt as part of the human condition, hurt and dominate.

Holland is not alone in this adventure, it is a film made by a mother and her daughter, Kasia Adamik. Adamik is also a prolific filmmaker, very familiar with the television series, and both share a very long experience working together. Kasia began assisting and drawing story boards in the films of Agnieszka. In Spoor both bring to life Janina Duszejko who, based on the novel by Olga Tokarczuk, is a retired civil engineer who now leads her quiet life in the leafy surroundings of a village of Klodzko, accompanied by her dogs.

Duszejko has a unique perspective on her surroundings, living as an English teacher in a community of hunter families, suffering from the cruelty of animal killing, and professing strict vegetarianism. Although her little pupils love her, the rest of the community feels eccentric and radical. However, the real contradictions will come when the death of one of its neighbors initiates a sequence of murders, that the same Duszejko can attribute more than the same animals.

Spoor poses the confrontation of the survival of the ecosystem against the survival of human communities, and with it, it is a criterion to despise the cultural primate, before the decline of the collective sensitivity to detect the pattern that connects us with a greater totality. Duszejko questions the limits of biological and scientific determinism, from the apparent contractual connotation of his lifestyle, fond of astrology, ecology and night fires with friends. However, their actions are not harmless.

Agnieszka Holland has grown up in the vortex of a very unique Poland, with a strong political influence coming from his father Jewish journalist, who fought in the ranks of the Red Army against fascism, and his mother who formed her as a child in the Catholicism. Spoor combines these historic winds, you can feel, at times, the fanfare of an ecological final judgment, executed by a few militants guerrillas of nature.

Facundo Torrieri