Feb 19, 2013

Plakaciarz/Flyposter, 1980

Plakaciarz / Flyposter (1980)

 The polarization of labor and leisure time forms an inherent tension from the first frames of this 16mm, color/silent film from 1980. Filmmaker Henryk Urbanczyk spends careful time in the 9-minute piece establishing the physical and mental effort required to erect posters around town. The piece is slow and careful, capturing the moments of the man and his work. His private moments – carrying his bike, putting up the posters, buying fruit from a local vendor - are captured with care in medium or close ups, representing the intimate relationship between his work and his surroundings. The travelling aspects of his position – what may be seen as the most laborious task of shuffling from location to location – are handled with less precision, often in extreme long shots as he casually rides through the streets on his bicycle.
 A study of the refueling station includes the people and their numbers, license plates, gas gauges, and other numeric values imposed upon them. The man, instead, is left with his unmarked bicycle and his 'non-job' of putting up posters around town. The man buys food from a local vendor, participates in quotidian activities, but does not receive acknowledgement for his contribution to the cultural or physical landscape of his urban environment. A rather elegant series of intercuts reveal the activities behind his posters, including a local dance program and a sports event. The man has some interest in the promotions, but prefers to read papers, smoke cigarettes, and keep to himself. The film winds down with a montage of various animals – men and dogs alike – urinating on the posters as the man disappears into the bar for a beer.
 Appreciation is key to this work of amateur film. The man accepts his position and does his work with pride, careful to keep the paste flat and pondering events his job advertises. But he does not seek acclaim or even acknowledgement from anyone; he prefers to watch as his work is admired and ultimately destroyed by those he works to serve.

K. Gronsbell

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