Bend Film Review: “The Young Kieslowski”

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The coming-of-age story that is practically ageless.

In his latest film, Kerem Sanga created a masterpiece that finally doesn’t portray the obstacles of college as a melodrama. In Hollywood, college appears to be either an elaborate fraternity party or a lonely night spent in your dorm room where the pressure of adulthood sends you spiraling into depression.
The Young Kieslowski, written and directed by Sanga brings the pressures and struggles of adult life to the big screen.
Brian Kieslowski is your typical college freshman whose high school education somehow left him unprepared to handle the harsh realities of adulthood. When he is not trying to run away from the obstacle of his mother dying of cancer, he is dwelling on the inconvenience his virginity has on his life. What Brian doesn’t know is that his life is going to become a lot more inconvenient without his virginity after drunkenly hooking up with Leslie Mallard. Six weeks after their sexual encounter, Leslie informs Brian of his new inconvenience: she is pregnant — with twins. And is also inconveniently going through a Christianity phase. Suddenly, Brian has to make the uncomfortable decision of doing what is expected, and doing what is right.
The beauty of this movie lies in the way it is written.
Real life is not perfectly scripted, which makes Sanga’s script practically perfect in this movie. Although most of us deny it, we are always searching for someone to love, somehow believing it will suddenly make our world understandable. However, this typically only adds to the confusion of it all. Rushing hormones and awkward insecurities do not instantly make a person fluent in Hallmark quotes. Rather, they leave us questioning the intentions of the person we believe we love. Sanga shows this in his film, which in its simplicity challenges us all on the way we perceive our lives and ourselves.
There is something poetically paradoxical in the way Sanga wrote to have Brian face the beginning of two new lives as one approaches an irrevocable end. The kid who has been running away from death has to turn around and face life with a woman who is his complete foil. Although Leslie does not share Brian’s history, she too has to face a future that is uncertain. After living her life through cycles where she could change her mind with no consequences, Leslie suddenly has to choose her life. It is her choice; but Leslie and Brian have to live with the consequences together. Sure, the idea of opposites attracting is a little cliche, but Sanga’s lack of romantic cheesiness makes the idea believable.
If The Young Kieslowski ever graces Bend with its presence in theatres again, I will definitely be sitting in the front row of Regal Cinema 16 watching Sanga’s brilliance repeatedly.

Emily Kalei | The Broadside
(Contact: efgarcia@cocc.edu)

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