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The Underneath2008

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  • 3.1
When Piotr agrees to join his wife, Iza, for a weekend get away at her ex-boyfriend Michal's country house he knows it could prove to be an uncomfortable stay. Michal is the owner of a fast growing advertising agency. At Iza's request, he has agreed to hire Piotr to write some jingles, as his literary writing has not been paying well. Upon arriving at the house, Ania, Michal's new girlfriend, greets them, and from that moment on, Piotr cannot stop lusting after her.

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2 members like this review

Marek Gajczak's The Underneath (2006) is a film with very much artistic merit on several different levels of analysis.

1) The film is a deep and penetrating study of human sexuality in terms of male-female social relationships, and in terms of the traditional concept of "male ownership of a female".

2) It is an effective character study of the protagonist, Piotr, a man who is first portrayed as a rather "free thinking" writer-type with long hair, only to be subsequently revealed to be a very sexually and socially inhibited man, a man with some "major hang ups".

3) The film effectively contemplates voyeurism, particularly in terms of Michal's use of a videocam, and Piotr's literal sexual snooping on Ania, as an alternative and viable means of sexual grtification.

4) The symbolism of "water" is effectively used in spiritual or mystical way, almost evoking the "worship of nature" in primitive man.

5) The cinematography and editing is very artistic as well, in terms of masking the whole screen in a cyan tone for the first part of the film, in terms of effectively investigating the sexuality of Ania, in terms of beautifully portraying the lakeside site of the film, in terms of effectively portraying the "confusion" of the party at the cabin through a radical, shifting editing of shots, in terms of the effective use of lighting in the darkened bedroom scenes, and in the capture of sun rays streaming through the salts of a window, in terms of penetrating and dramatic close up shots of Piotr's eyes, and in a variety of other ways as well.

The Underneath (2006) is a visually beautiful film, with deep psycho-sexual and even philosophical overtones as well. But the viewer must penetrate the surface level of obvious sexuality in this film to reach the beauty, the artistry, and the reflective thought that lies deep within this very important instance of Cinematic Art.

20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!!

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

191242.small
top reviewer

Marek Gajczak's The Underneath (2006) is a film with very much artistic merit on several different levels of analysis.

1) The film is a deep and penetrating study of human sexuality in terms of male-female social relationships, and in terms of the traditional concept of "male ownership of a female".

2) It is an effective character study of the protagonist, Piotr, a man who is first portrayed as a rather "free thinking" writer-type with long hair, only to be subsequently revealed to be a very sexually and socially inhibited man, a man with some "major hang ups".

3) The film effectively contemplates voyeurism, particularly in terms of Michal's use of a videocam, and Piotr's literal sexual snooping on Ania, as an alternative and viable means of sexual grtification.

4) The symbolism of "water" is effectively used in spiritual or mystical way, almost evoking the "worship of nature" in primitive man.

5) The cinematography and editing is very artistic as well, in terms of masking the whole screen in a cyan tone for the first part of the film, in terms of effectively investigating the sexuality of Ania, in terms of beautifully portraying the lakeside site of the film, in terms of effectively portraying the "confusion" of the party at the cabin through a radical, shifting editing of shots, in terms of the effective use of lighting in the darkened bedroom scenes, and in the capture of sun rays streaming through the salts of a window, in terms of penetrating and dramatic close up shots of Piotr's eyes, and in a variety of other ways as well.

The Underneath (2006) is a visually beautiful film, with deep psycho-sexual and even philosophical overtones as well. But the viewer must penetrate the surface level of obvious sexuality in this film to reach the beauty, the artistry, and the reflective thought that lies deep within this very important instance of Cinematic Art.

20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!!

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

Green, or cyan film stock (or is it video?), the darkish countryside lake and sounds are all very pleasant visuals -- but about half way through the film it was clear what the formula was in the film: What do you get when you put together an insecure voyeur, a shallow narcissist, a belligerent arse, and another blonde who didn't pass the bechdel test. (It's rhetorical, so leave out the question mark, because there's never an answer given). And at the cool-people party scene, I decided I was really resenting the film maker forcing me to be a voyeur, too -- I had had enough of all the boobs, and butt cracks. But again, no one was forcing me to watch this, yet I waited to see if this film was going to redeem itself. And then finally our angst-ridden protagonist sinks to an all time low. Unfortunately, however, the reappearance of the ever present water symbolism only confused me more, and I was left hanging, not really getting any psychological substance or explanation of what just happened.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Serving as the film's cinematographer as well as director, Marek Gajczak is able to elevate this film to a higher level. The emotional breaking point turns a weekend get away into a very dark place where the concepts of reality and delusion blur. The acting is strong, but the use of symbology and metaphor are really over done. It is the exceptional and highly stylized camera work is the film's saving grace. Exceptional and stylistic cinematography allows Marek Gajczak to elevate a study of a dominant male approaching an emotional break

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top reviewer

I'm glad I'm not being asked if I liked the film. I didn't, but I was fascinated by it. We have two men, once "buddies", who no longer like each other, in fact despise each other. One, a brute, a successful ad man, the other a struggling writer. One suits himself, lives a life of rotating women without a thought of commitment. The other prudishly judgmental about breaking commitments , sees himself loyal to his wife who used to be a lover of the brute. Because we are allowed to share Piotr's inner thoughts and fantasies, we learn that his life is far more lurid with his incessant sexual thoughts than is Michal who seems to be indulging himself at every opportunity - perhaps even more often. We seem to be presented with two men, so very different, yet very much the same. Hopefully there are many men who are not so driven. But were we given a different movie with different men, we wouldn't have to deal with this very challenging film that lets us see below the surface, underneath, to the unpalatable truth.

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top reviewer

4 1/2 pretty great_Piotr is so uptight it's painful_ Ania is so openly sexual it's wonderful_Iza the wife is a treasure_so Piotr is blind to the beauty that is his & i guess by the story he only sees sadness & lives it_too bad he's missing out on love, beauty & treasure_it's a beautiful film the water shots especially & the naked women shots are beautiful too_+++++

This film really didn't speak to me at all. After watching, thought there would be some kind of

message i.e. meaning to all of this. I didn't find any meaning at all except that a man rapes a woman

who has been flirting with him.