Movie Short Review: ‘The Dress’

Greetings again from the darkness. For lonely folks, the dream of companionship is ever-present. Wondering if the right person will ever come along is a weighty burden to carry, and it’s one that Julka has toted her entire life. Writer-director Tadeusz Lysiak and lead actor Anna Dieduszycka only need 29 minutes in this short film to convey the hope and pain that accompanies loneliness.

Ms. Dieduszycka gives a strong performance, and her dwarfism comes into play as Julka, a cleaning lady at a truck stop motel. Julka rarely smiles and only speaks when her co-worker and lone friend Renata (Dorota Pomykala) talks to her. Otherwise, Julka is all about smoking and slot machines … at least while she’s not fantasizing about being “normal” and having true romance that leads to the loss of her virginity.

A truck driver named Bogdan (Szymon Piotr Warszawski) shows some legitimate interest in getting to know her better, and Julka’s excitement mirrors that of a schoolgirl. Filmmaker Lysiak places Julka in a situation that seems to be her ideal romantic encounter – a sure sign that life rarely allows these moments to play out as we hope, which ironically, provides her with a taste of the downside of normalcy. The film is from Poland, and it earned the honor of being shortlisted for this year’s Oscars.

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