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It is the life of Irena Maria Chwalibogan unwed working mother whose energies are being taxed to their limit. She lives in a small room with her young son Bob Pawel Witczakand must share a bed with him; mother and son are also harassed by their landlord. Her job as a letter carrier is so physically draining that she sometimes collapses under the weight of her sack. Her life seems to hold no satisfactions, not even small ones. Even when she bathes at home where there is no indoor plumbingshe must do it with Bob's used bathwater.
And she has no real hope. Irena pays weekly visits to a dying aunt whom she hopes may leave her a small sum, but the trips exhaust her even further - and she winds up having to assume household expenses for the aunt, who is apparently a miser. She cannot turn to family, to friends, to her work or even to Bob for any comfort. Agnieszka Holland, who directed ''A Woman Alone'' in before making her German film, ''Angry Harvest,'' which was shown in the New York Film Festivalbegins with a step-by-step depiction of Irena's grueling daily routine.
The film has a raw, documentary quality, making use of some hand-held footage, as it lays out the facts of Irena's life. But ''A Woman Alone'' is not solely about quiet hardship; it is about the breakdown that occurs as Irena reaches the end of her tether. As the film progresses, Irena's frustration mounts almost palpably, and her angry outbursts become more desperate.
More pointedly, she adds: ''I don't know how to educate and make a good Pole out of him. All our values have been destroyed. Sharply critical of the system that cons Irena to her fate, the film follows her vain efforts to enlist the help of local Party officials in improving her housing. Not having ed Solidarity, she cannot seek help in that direction either. When an outside force does alter Irena's life, it arrives in the unlikely shape of a disabled mine worker Boguslaw Linda who is several years her junior.
Odd, excitable and vaguely unsavory as this man is, he wants to help her. And Irena has no choice but to welcome help, from whatever quarter it may come.
But it progresses to something even sadder, with a brief coda that is genuinely bizarre. Miss Holland, who elicits a moving performance from Miss Chwalibog, has shaped a painful portrait, not only of a single person but also of the larger forces that shape her fate. Running time: minutes. This film has no rating. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.Poland lonely women
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