Original Title: Sztuka kochania. Historia Michaliny Wislockiej
Director: Maria Sadowska
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
24.02.2020: This review was first published on 17.06.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
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Directed by Maria Sadowska, The Art of Loving tells the story of the author Michalina Wisłocka, and the hardships to publish her book of the same title in Communist Poland.
World Cup Historic
Born in 1919, the Polish Football Association participated in eight the FIFA World Cups. The first was in 1938, in which they got eliminated in the first round. Their best result was in 74 and 82, third place.
In Russia, they had a very balanced group, and any of the teams could classify. There was a reasonable expectation around Poland because of the striker and prolific scorer Robert Lewandowski, who was 29 years old, 55 goals in 95 caps.
Right now, Lewandowski has 61 goals in 112 caps for the national team. He is the player with most caps and goals in the history of the country, and it’s probably gonna take some time for someone to catch up with him.
Poland ended up being the worst in the group, losing the first two games, including a 3-nill against Colombia, and winning the last one, a disgraceful match. Lewandowski played every single minute of the three caps but didn’t score.
Michalina Wisłocka was born on 1st July 1921 in Łódź, Poland. She was a gynecologist, sexologist, and wrote The Art of Loving, a sex manual she had problems to publish in Communist Poland.
The book was very controversial for the prude authorities, but proved very important and wanted by the people, becoming a bestseller and a reference in sexuality for the Polish people at that time.
Michalina, who had a cute dog, just like myself, passed away in 2005 from complications of a heart attack.
Michalina Wisłocka (played by Magdalena Boczarska) was married to Stach Wisłocki (played by Piotr Adamczyk) when the Nazi invaded Poland. The German captured the couple, but somehow her best friend, Wanda (played by Justyna Wasilewska), was able to save them.
The three began living together, and soon, it became a secret three-way marriage. Both the women had kids at around the same time, but to not reveal the nature of their relationship, they said that Michalina was the mother of the two children.
The agreement that had begun very intense lasts for some years, but it slowly wears out, and Wanda leaves with her son. Not long after, Stach does the same thing, leaving Michalina desolated.
Years later, Michalina meets Jurek (played by Eryk Lubos), and they start a romance. This love affair becomes a crucial part of Michalina’s life, and for the writing of the book.
The Art of Loving goes back and forth from Michalina’s early life to when she’s struggling to publish her book. In this case, I think this non-linear storytelling worked better than with The Damned United.
The film has lighter, fun moments, and also some sad and serious ones. The comedic aspect of it was slightly silly. The sourer moments of the movie are also the better ones.
Female sexuality is in the center of the movie. Dealing with the liberation, and empowerment of women in a conservative society, closely tied with the church. To have advances in this subject, they will have to fight against this conservativeness.
Spearheading this fight is Michalina, a hardworking, competent woman, with such dedication to the work that limited her family time. She’s a great researcher and an outstanding clinical, but initially, her work is not fully recognized because she’s a woman.
Magdalena Boczarska, as Michalina, gives an excellent and convincing performance, going from funny to heartbreaking with the same competence. The character changes with her age and experiences, making it more credible.
In the second place, so to speak, I also liked Eryk Lubos’ performance, and very much of his character, Jurek. He portrays a somewhat simple and lovable man who became essential for Michalina’s journey.
The costumes and settings are also on point, both are adequate to the period the movie is set. The film spams for several decades, and the wardrobe and locations evolve with the years being portrayed.
I enjoyed the cinematography, but I think it’s slightly above the average, nothing Roger Deakins or Emmanuel Lubezki. My favorite shots are in locations with nature, like woods or lakes. The camera movements are competent and professional, but also nothing that stands out.
The original score is another competent, “not great, not terrible” thing. However, there’s a scene in my mind with a song that definitely stood out, I can’t put it in the video, but I’ll leave a link in the description box. The song is Tylko ty, performed by Adam Aston, and it’s played in a dance scene.
In general, It’s a very competently made, enjoyable film, there’s nothing I dislike, but there are too many just-average or slightly-above-average aspects, so I’m giving “The Art of Loving. Story of Michalina Wisłocka” 7 Moons.