PATAGONIA (100 happy suiciders)
In the dystopian totalitarian Europe there is no place for the unhappy, different and weak. All would-be suiciders are forced to undergo obligatory therapies in Suicide Centers and are given personal parole officers upon release. HELENA and ANNA meet by accident. Helena (41) is a famous classic pianist who after being released from the Center hides from the world and her husband, politician from the ultraconservative Party of Light, in an empty apartment that belonged to her deceased grandfather, a known composer. Depression and panic attacks make it impossible for her to go out – she is observing the world through the window. This is how she notices Anna’s arrival and becomes fascinated by the young woman. Anna (27) leads a chaotic, yet colorful life. After many years in London she comes back home deported by the police after a suicide attempt. She is suffering from MS but is unable to tell her mother about the sickness as the two barely speak limiting their conversations to those about food. Anna is a daydreamer, planning an unrealistic journey to mysterious Patagonia, a land with free, wild horses that come back to her in dreamy fantasies.
Anna quickly makes her way into Helena’s life. She takes care of her silent depressed friend and soon opens her up. Anna teaches Helena how to contest the rules of the society, challenging her to walk down the street in weird, grotesque steps. But when parole officer threatens Helena with sending her back to the Suicide Center for violating the release rules, they both decide to run away. Helena crushes the car escaping in panic from a routine police patrol and the two friends find themselves in the middle of nowhere. In a shabby motel hidden in the woods they meet other would-be suiciders, outcasts and rebels. Together with motel’s residents, including Professor, the mysterious leader of the rebel movement, and Adam, with whom Helena falls in love, they create a bizarre community and finally find freedom and happiness. But when Anna’s sickness advances quickly it’s time for Helena to take care of her friend and make choices.
One day paramedics from the Suicide Center surround the motel and catch all the residents – except for Anna who kills herself jumping from a nearby cliff. Helena watches her friend fall down looking happy and free as horses on Patagonia’s steppe. Helena, still shaken by her friend’s death, has to face her husband who came with the paramedics demanding she goes back home with him. Helena refuses. Now she is strong enough to rebel. A few months later Helena gives a concert during which she plays a song composed by her grandfather and blacklisted by the government. She enters the stage making the same surreal and grotesque steps her friend taught her. This is her homage to Anna.
An awarded documentary film director, winner of Silver Horn at Krakow Film Festival, the Big Golden Nanook at Flahertiana Festival, Urania Award at LET’S CEE Festival, Zoom Award at MFF T-Mobile New Horizons and many others. Her latest film „The Queen of Silence“ (2014) premiered at IDFA festival in Amsterdam in the main competition and was screened at over 50 festivals worldwide, awarded 15 times and coproduced by such TV stations as HBO Europe, ZDF/ARTE, SVT, YLE and RAI. In her films she balances between reality and fantasy, creating hybrids that cross the border between documentary and fiction. Agnieszka Zwiefka also holds a PhD degree in media studies and works as a lecturer at the Institute of Journalism and Social Communication at the University of Wroclaw.
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