Tickets will be available for purchase in the lobby of the Marchesa Hall & Theatre (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd) one hour prior to showtime.
Presented by Austin Polish Film Festival and Austin Film Society
"Dzien kobiet" (Original Title)
Co-written by Katarzyna Terechowicz
Cinematography by Radoslaw Ladczuk
Editing by Jaroslaw Kaminski
Original music by Maria Sadowska
Poland, 2013, Studio Munka – Polish Filmmakers Association, BluRay, color, 90 min.
In Polish with English subtitles
An (eventually) uplifting drama, WOMEN’S DAY gives the “Solidarity” movement of the 1980s a feminist point-of-view for the 21st century. In the same vein as Norma Rae, Karen Silkwood, and Erin Brockovich, Halina Radwan reaches a point in her business career that she won’t “take it anymore.” What seems to be a great opportunity at first turns into a nightmare, as she is promoted from cashier to manager of a Butterfly grocery store, one in a nationwide chain of supermarkets in post-Communist Poland. Not only does Halina have to contend with the nasty jealousy of former colleagues – now her employees – and the sexual harassment of her own male boss, but she also has to deal with an already agnostic, school-skipping teenage daughter, Misia, who spends far more time on her computer than in helping her hard-working mother around the house.
The team-building exercises commissioned by the grocery chain are just as absurd and hilarious as those conducted in various US corporations. “Productivity! Productivity!” But that same team-building does not prepare Halina for making difficult choices, such as whom to fire when the much-vaunted “Productivity” seems to be declining. Some of Halina’s solutions to improve the store’s sales are humorous, when not horrifying. Finally the multi-layered pressures become too much for the intelligent, but unprepared Halina, and the top managers do what they often do – get rid of the problem.
Initially depressed, she succeeds in finding out how she and other women have been mistreated and misinformed about company policies and national laws. Halina begins to appeal to other women to join in her fight against Butterfly Grocery. She begins appearing on TV and becomes a media darling – always ready to speak her mind backed up with facts about 14-hour days (without overtime pay and fringe benefits), falsified records, heavy physical labor, and sexual harassment. The corporate bosses are not above hiring dangerous goons to try to “talk some sense” into the new-born activist, but she decides she can’t back down. And her daughter has a wonderful surprise for her. Finally comes the court date when a judge will decide the merits of Halina’s case. The entire country, especially its women, is watching for the outcome in this new Polish revolution.
That the film is perfectly directed by one of Poland’s most popular singers, Maria Sadowska, only adds to the film’s power and interest. Likewise, veteran actress Katarzyna Kwiatkowska does a wonderful job in the role of Halina. – Chale Nafus