Dream in the Making, A
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Dream in the Making, A

A young Polish man dreams of being Bruce Lee.




Thursday, May 2, 9:45 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Friday, May 3, 5:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

A Dream in the Making opens in the Wola district, one of the most impoverished areas of Warsaw, where a young man named Bartek is training to be a stuntman under the tutelage of best friend and all-purpose big brother, surrogate dad, and talent agent Pawel. While the opening shot of Bartek in bed under a poster of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon prepares us for a scrappy coming-of-age story inflected by American pop culture, the camera’s trained gaze is ultimately more revealing of director Bartosz M. Kowalski’s minimalist, observational approach to his subject.

Kowalski sets modest goals here, refusing to turn Bartek and Pawel’s relationship into a superficial allegory about youth in Poland. That approach yields some strong stuff, not least in the men’s candid conversations with one another about their hopes for the future, which Kowalski doesn’t overburden with tired documentary tropes like a disembodied narrator or archival footage. This is also a handsomely shot film, full of tasteful compositions and fluid camerawork that keeps a steady pace behind the documentary’s subjects. Even if the story is a bit thin, the footage of Bartek’s lithe movements as he trains to jump faster and higher is undeniably cinematic.

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