The Park Record

With "Lasting," Polish filmmaker Jacek Borcuch has entered new psychological, philosophical and artistic territory. "Lasting" is Borcuch's follow-up film to the highly acclaimed "All That I Love," which screened at Sundance in 2010 and became Poland's official Oscar entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category of 2011.

Premiering in the World Dramatic Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, "Lasting" poses questions about whether young, carefree, ecstatic love can at the same time be unconditional. What happens when an unforeseen intervening variable interrupts the innocence, and secrecy on both sides clouds commitment?

That there are moments in life that change everything is a given. As is the fact that some secrets are too difficult to share, even between two newly enchanted Polish lovebirds like Michal (Jakub Gierszal) and Karina (Magdalena Berus). When their holiday romance blossomed while working summer jobs in Spain, time seemed very much on their side.

The first moment in question - an impulsive reaction on Michal's part to a confrontational situation that came out of nowhere - had an immediate impact on his psyche. This was no "butterfly effect" of Chaos Theory, where infinitesimally small changes to a system begat, over time, larger and larger modifications to the paradigm. No, in this moment, in just one instant, Michal morphed into someone carrying a much heavier load.

He would internalize these emotions, of course. Sharing such a thing would be out of the question. Believing that geographical distance will somehow separate him from the devastation in his recent past, Michal, without explanation to Karina, up and returns to Poland. Soon enough, Karina finds herself harboring an unshared secret of her own and the psychological space between them expands. Obviously, at this point, time has ceased working in their favor.

So, what begins as a gorgeously shot and lovingly directed idyllic love story soon takes on the trappings of a highly suspenseful drama with music and action reflecting the harsher emotional realities at play in a much darker Polish landscape. Circumstances and lost time have put them at odds and will ultimately test the depth of what is left of their once passionate commitment.

The wonderful complexities that end up on the screen are a direct reflection of both the human condition and the labyrinthine cinematic path taken by the filmmaker, Jacek Borcuch. With storytelling abilities honed by an understanding of the actor's craft, along with philosophical and musical immersions all brought together by his directorial skill set, Borcuch appears quite at peace in this tantalizing exploration of the human psyche.

Trust, and the lack thereof, of course, is at the crux of the matter. Not that fear and anger don't get seats at the table. Once, basking in the warmth of Spain's wine country, they became one. That changed, utterly. Is it possible, considering all that has gone down between them and on the periphery of their alliance, that they could once again come together as totally as before. Was their love unconditional, after all? Or was it, like most relationships, to some degree qualified?

Hopefully, what doesn't get lost in all this wordplay on cinematic art, and one of the most important factors in making "Lasting" such an inviting film, is how much the camera loves both Jakub and Magdalena. The lenses are hopelessly smitten with these two. And that comes from someone who watched the film on his phone. I'm almost afraid to see it on the big screen.

Borcuch and his team deserve congratulations on what is an exquisitely shot and deeply interesting film. Everything from its pacing to its emotional content reflect the work of a gifted auteur. It will be difficult to top the success of "All That I Love," but they may well have accomplished just that.

"Lasting" will show at the Egyptian Theatre on Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m., the Temple Theatre on Jan. 22 at 9 p.m., the Broadway Centre Cinema 3 in Salt Lake City on Jan. 23 at 9:45 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1 on Jan. 24 at 3:30 p.m. and and the Holiday Village Cinema 1 on Jan. 26, at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.sundance.org/festival