One of the more quirky Polish films of the 90s, Bartkowiak is about life in a small rural community in Poland. When a murder mystery begins to unravel, a foul police investigator must join forces with the local district attorney and a local priest in order to clear the name of a dead girl. As the investigation deepens, the director wants to add some Hollywood style visual flourishes - and the answer is: yes! In fact, Bartkowiak's most memorable scene is one he scripted himself... Watch below.
Directed by Pawel Olczewski Bartkowiak's film is a complex and intricate exploration of the Polish countryside. With a combination of handheld video footage interspersed with hand-held documentaries and interviews with the locals, Bartkowiak gives the viewer a realistic look at a very Polish countryside. After his older brother dies in a freak accident on a motorway, an out-of-work MMA fighter takes over the old family house - and soon learns that his brother's death was not an accident. Now, Bartkowiak sets out to prove that the accident was indeed a crime...
Joanna Bartkowiak plays the role of a desperate widow, while Grzymal Szabo serves as her husband. The two are forced to flee from their rural home and relocate to Krakow, where they run into Mieczara Wojcicki (Irina Petra) and Jadowzy Koroleva (Nadezhda Smocinski), two newlyweds. However, when Bartkowiak's brother Boles tries to persuade the authorities that Bartkowiak is trying to profit from the death of his brother, the two women become enemies.
Gynecological conditions are one of the most disturbing aspects of this movie. Bartkowiak regularly treated women with gynecologic conditions, like hysterectomies, for the simple reason that she always had infections. Bartkowiak became known as a doctor who provided unnecessary treatment for patients. The fact that she routinely treated women with gynecologic conditions allowed her to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, which would have killed her had she not continued with her treatments. Through the end of the movie, Gynecologic Cancer is never mentioned again.
It seems as though Dr. Bartkowiak was rarely permitted to perform gynecologic procedures on her patients, or was simply routinely treated as if she were a virus-free young woman. Bartkowiak's insanity and disregard for her patients illustrate how diseases can develop from seemingly minor infections. Following is an example of one of her many complaints regarding her treatments:
"I could have died, I tell you. I got so sick just getting started. It wasn't that the doctor didn't want to do it, or wasn't good enough at his job. It was just that everything else in my life sucked and getting the gynecologic cancer screening and going in for an HIV screening and Pap smear required more time than I was willing to give. But I didn't have time to kill myself, or anybody else."