Feb 19, 2013

Piwo zostalo (Left Over Beer)

Shira Peltzman

Piwo zostalo (Left Over Beer) by Henryk Bogacki depicts a large group of men--some in official garb, some in suits and ties--celebrating in a beer hall. The description on http://www.enthusiastsarchive.net/ informs the viewer that these men are Silesian coal miners, however the cause for their celebration is not made clear. The men chant, sing, joke, toast, and watch a stripper perform onstage while they drink. In addition to the lack of subtitles, the low-fidelity aesthetic of the video format on which the event was filmed seemed to add to the general atmosphere or revelry and celebration, the video errors and artifacts lending an air of chaos and disorder to the proceedings.

The principal motif is beer mugs being continuously filled, emptied, and re-filled. At various points during the 13 minute-long movie the camera cuts away to images of a parade in which some of the men in uniform march proudly, although without being able to read the banners under which they were marching, the cause of their celebration remains a mystery. I was by two things about this movie: first I was struck by the almost complete lack of women present (save for a naked dancer performing a striptease onstage), and the total absence of any female voice. I was also struck by how universal the ritual of drinking seemed.

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