Festival Review: United States Of Love (2016)

Zjednoczone Stany Milosci

A portrait of four pained women on the cusp of freedom, Tomasz Wasilewski’s United States Of Love takes its passion removed, rejected and unrequited.

What Women Want

by Mark Wilshin

United States Of Love

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Following on from his debut film Floating Skyscrapers, Catholic Poland’s first gay film, iconoclast Tomasz Wasilewski returns with United States Of Love – a tiered portrait of four women’s love lives. What’s immediately noticeable is the film’s bleached colour palette, suggesting the dull misery of life in Poland under socialism just after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. His four heroines Agata (Julia Kijowska), Iza (Magdalena Cielecka), Renata (Dorota Kolak) and Marzena (Marta Nieradkiewicz) are on the brink of freedom – enduring loneliness, straining at the bit of a loveless marriage, suffering at the hands of an ended affair or stoking a passion that dare not speak its name. Their stories are interconnected – at church, in their housing block, or at school. And Wasilewski creates a unique world inhabited almost entirely by women; the only problem is that his women all verge in one way or another on the hysterical. With a strong opening scene that offers us a window into the lives of his characters, thanks to an ever-busy hostess, The United States Of Love angles for something akin to Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love. But with no positive examples in his kaleidoscope of love, Wasilewski’s film ends up more like a dark portrait of female desperation.

United States Of Love is now showing at the 66th Berlin Film Festival

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