Nottingham Film Festival was at its peak a while ago, and I had the honour of popping along and watching one of the movies on show. Bikini Blue was directed by the Polish director Jaroslaw Marszewski and features both Tomasz Kot and Lianne Harvey as the title characters.
“The audience is invited along to solve the mystery”
In particular, the film focuses on Polish integration into English society and the attitudes and stereotypes that surround them. The narrative, although a bit confusing at first soon, became very clever, as alongside the main protagonist, Dora, the audience is invited along to solve the mystery of her Polish husband’s life during and before the war as he recuperates in a hospital for Polish soldiers.
“It assumes that the audience already has this knowledge”
I found the film to be very confusing at points as to what was actually going on and became lost at times. For someone who knows very little about post-war protocol, I found it interesting that it showed the audience an era which often goes by unnoticed, but also found the context cloudy as it assumes that the audience is walking in already with this knowledge.
“The film did pick apart some interesting themes”
With all that said and done, the film did pick apart some interesting themes that are becoming more relevant to the time we are living in. Integration, racial discrimination and feminism were all key issues with this film. At times we see the Polish-English couple struggling to succeed in building their new life based on prejudiced ideals that the society they live in pushes onto them.
“Draws on post-war attitudes”
The cinematography was beautifully done, depicting a 1950’s version of England which is often not seen in films, as for the most part when we think of the fifties, our minds automatically go to America. This setting showed the period in which people were trying to get back to basics in the country and draws on post-war attitudes and the impending anxieties of a new conflict breaking out.
“Both are living metaphors for the general insecurities existing in Britain at the time”
We are presented with a rocky relationship full of ups and downs as the two try and work around previous mistakes and misunderstandings. However, it is clear they are madly in love, and strangely suited for each other as they both exist in a state of wanting to be something the world refuses to acknowledge them as. Both are living metaphors for the general insecurities existing in Britain at the time.
“This feminist rocker chic is way ahead of the times”
Dora is outspoken, wild, and not afraid to straddle a motorbike. Especially in the time the movies set, where women were deemed to aspire to little more than pink, prim housewives, her behaviour is viewed as outlandish and shocking. Harassed by men at every junction, it’s easy to see that this feminist rocker chic is way ahead of the times. Her fragility and the sense that she isn’t strong enough to do what she wants plagues the film as we see her repeatedly knocked down due to the simple fact that she’s a woman.
“It becomes obvious to the audience that he is capable of much more”
In the same way, Eryk too refuses to be repressed. Living as a damaged and confused man due to his past, we see him commit various crimes due to the loss of identity he experiences. To the point when it becomes obvious to the audience that he is capable of much more than we might first believe resulting in a couple of shocking scenes.
‘The two chase the idea of escapism’
Perhaps the thing that brings the two together is their willpower to escape the remnants of war torn Britain and make their own futures. The two persistently chase the idea of escapism in an attempt to get away from their impending realities.
The tale is wacky, sad, funny and haunting as it successfully deals with difficult themes in an artistic and sensitive way. If you enjoy mad dash escapes and pet turtles then this is the film for you.
Image courtesy of NOTTIFF Offical Webpage