I Never Cry
Piotr Domalewski’s second feature is an examination of family recrimination and reconciliation, and a potent assessment of economic migration.
Ola (Zofia Stafiej) is a wilful 17-year-old. Desperate to own a car so she can have more independence, she fails her third driving test. Her result comes as she finds out that her father, who has been working for years in Ireland, has died on a building site. Her mother speaks no English and has to look after her youngest, who is disabled. So, it falls to Ola to travel to Ireland and bring back her father’s body. At first she’s reluctant – her father had been away for so long she barely knew him. But on arriving in Ireland and gradually finding out about his life, Ola begins to understand the cost of making ends meet in the modern world.
With echoes of Ken Loach, particularly in its balance of the personal and social, Domalewski crafts a convincing portrait of two worlds, the differences between them and the people left with no choice but to live their lives with a foot in each. And it’s held together by newcomer Stafiej’s confident and mature performance. Ola’s petulance soon gives way to understanding and with it a shift in her worldview and goals.