Prior to its premiere, the film won 'Best Narrative Feature Film' at the San Diego Film Awards. There is a plus-side: Playground is beautifully shot, and the actors are exquisitely trained, especially being this as a first movie for all three actors. It’s an excess of rationalization that feels like overkill but that tells us little. This may be for the sheer pleasure of the director—in this case: Kowalski, who thinks that showing the audience this on-screen brutality is actually a form of art while getting a nasty reaction from the audience. Like many other films “re-enacting” a real-life incident (see Gus Van Sant’s overrated, unnecessary, and equally exploitive 2003 film Elephant, for instance), there is no need to make a movie about it. Playground is much more clear-cut: we can only recoil in horror. Haneke, finally, comes to mind because, since his 1992 film Benny’s Video—about youth violence and the cauterization of moral awareness that he sees video technology as entailing—the Austrian director’s rigorously frosty stylistic methodology has become the obligatory reference when considering any film that uses clinical detachment to make us look directly at unpalatable content. A fable of five vastly separate inner-city lives who struggle against their limitations in an interlocking tale assembled by a dark orchestrator. Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation. They look at a video-game store, advertising something called Flames of War (there is in fact a board game of that name, but presumably that’s not what’s represented here). But what troubles me most about the final scene is the very fact that it’s done with the absolute distanciation we think of as Haneke-esque. Usually when a person is tagged, the tagger says, "Tag, you're 'it'! Now the film gets impressionistic, Kowalski dropping the cold, detached observational style largely used till now. Serious and ambitious though its aspirations are, Playground leaves us feeling much the same—and none the wiser. Perhaps because it feels so derivative of Play—although we can’t know if Kowalski has seen that film—Playground doesn’t, for me, have anything of the same bite. Playground is about children’s cruelty to children, and specifically about the violence witnessed in the long penultimate shot, in which two teenagers batter a young boy to death. Cinépolis revealed plans to put a children’s playground in movie theaters. It asks us to watch, or to shut our eyes; it doesn’t make us ask questions, at least not in the culminating sequence itself. There’s a decided touch of “living dead” to this sequence, although it’s a moot point who’s dead inside, the boys or the adults around them. In one lengthy scene, a group of teenage boys brutalize a drunken boy in a park at night. He is a member of the London Film Critics Circle. Glaring intently at the camera, Gabrysia has a hard, serious face, and an intensity that initially comes across as menacing; together with her tightly buttoned white school garb, this makes us fear the worst about her nature. In the next section (“Ruins”), Szymek accordingly shows up for the assignation on a secluded piece of wasteland; Gabrysia has come armed with a condom. Playground has its moments of greatness—wonderful  cinematography; amazing set-designs; awesome actors, throughout—but as the movie progresses, it makes one to wonder what the point ever was of the first 70 minutes. It is hard to be objective here without the feeling of morality overcoming the senses of the body, or feeling the pain of loss for the family who had suffered at the hands of two kids. This may have been Kowalski’s idea of being “sensitive” to a true-life crime as the audience waits and waits and watches. In Playground, the cold parental home, and particularly an exterior of this suburban house—its front garden an absurd, fussy little forest of ornamental trees behind iron fencing—here seems to function as a shorthand for the dehumanizing environment that Gabrysia has apparently grown up in. Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Unless, that is, we protest by getting up and leaving, refusing to be complicit. Though she may not always seem it at first glance because she spends much of the film in a state of dread or outright terror, Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) is … With Ray Bradbury, William Shatner, Keith Dutson, Kate Trotter. It’s understandable that people might want to leave a film rather than sit and feel their sensibilities assaulted: a colleague of mine quite reasonably decided to skip out on most of Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible, feeling that the use of the fire extinguisher in the opening sequence was as much as he needed to see. A lot of finely tuned work has been put into the sonic effect that makes us feel: he’s so near, yet so far, and we can do nothing. We follow Szymek to school, in a sequence overlapping with the previous episode; everything happens in the course of a single day, the last of the school year. YouTube is quickly becoming the most unsafe place for your children to be. As Szymek and Czarek go about their day, they arrive at a mall, where they walk away with an unattended three-year-old child, taking this kid to a railroad track where they brutally kill him. Released on VOD on December 8, 2017 through Uncork’d Entertainment, Playground re-tells, and reminds many who have suffered, the real-life death of a three-year-old child at the hands of two young school boys back in 1993. A caring father, deeply traumatized by the constant bullying he suffered as a child at the local playground, is forced by his sister to face his demons and take his little boy to the same playground. Dan, Mike Ryan and David Samson discuss the movie theater industry, Tampa Bay Rays, concert films, the CFB Playoffs and much more. Although, to be fair, with a great cast, some wonderful camerawork, and strong direction from Kowalski, CrypticRock gives Playground 2 out of 5 stars. While trying to save Fitz and Phil Coulson from Hell, Radcliffe had a glimpse of the infinite knowledge contained in the Darkhold and became obsessed with the idea of getting the book for himself since that moment. Whether or not we can always say exactly why, it can feel grossly intrusive or otherwise improper to reconstruct real episodes of sexual violence or of genocide; in the case of depictions of the Holocaust, it takes a pitilessly audacious film such as Son of Saul to rethink the question. The Playground ( 2017) The Playground. I’ve seen walkouts at festivals before, for all kinds of different reasons—boredom, bemusement, incomprehension—and they’re usually pretty much the same. Gabrysia isn’t the fascistic bully we might lazily assume on seeing her implacable expression: rather, she turns out to be a victim. A certain scene, at the end of Bartosz M. Kowalski’s drama, caused a sudden horrified mass surge as people leapt from their seats and made for the doors. One boy starts walking around the kid, poking him with a stick—then the full horror of the scene erupts, as they beat him to death at great length, every moment of the atrocity captured in a lengthy take that presumably depends on CGI for its verisimilitude (the end credits list special-effects technicians). Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Then, the following two chapters are dedicated to the murdering pieces of trash: Szymek (Nicolas Przygoda: Panic Attack 2017) and Czarek (Przemyslaw Balinski: debut). “You Become Hostage to Their Worldview”: The Murky World of Moderation on Clubhouse, a Playground for the Elite The invite-only app, which has … Apparently, during a screening of Playground, people in the audience removed themselves from the theatre after watching the long-winded ending. This is done all in one take, the camera many, many feet away, and one quick time-lapse fade where the real child becomes either CGI, or a mechanized doll. Well, how far would someone go to make a movie about a real-life incident that was as horrific then as it is today? The boys—inevitably, it seems, in a film about troubled youth—then visit a shopping mall, the same one that we’ve glimpsed briefly in CCTV shots at the start. An Art film? For whatever reason—so much in Playground is left tantalizingly unstated—Czarek shaves his hair off with electric clippers, in a long single take done for real. There is no message in Playground—not a single one, whatsoever. The following section shows the kids at school, and we see what’s been making Gabrysia so tense: she has a crush on Szymek. As far as reconstructing or evoking an actual child murder goes, Playground does not, I think, have such boldness, just a cold sophistication that finally feels cynical, despite Kowalski’s honorable investigative intentions. "This Used to Be My Playground" is a song recorded by American singer Madonna. On this episode of the Decoder podcast, host Nilay Patel speaks with Shelli Taylor, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse. We’re watching something strictly inadmissible: true horror, and horror directly relating to real events. The audience has to suffer a long-winded build of tension—or so it may seem—that leads the viewer to think something else is afoot when each kid attends school. The intimate talk quickly spins out of control, leading to an unexpected ending. One is the very fact of asking children or teenagers to enact scenes of extreme violence: you hate to imagine how this drama felt to Kowalski’s young nonprofessional cast, although the end credit for a psychologist suggests the ramifications were thought through very responsibly. The Playground is a thrilling adaptation of ancient folklore depicted through a modern fable of five vastly separate inner-city lives. Look what we have to deal with now, it seems to say: increasingly brutal video games, social media, revenge porn, the rise of the profit motive, the oversexualization of children. Later in the same scene—shot in a single extended take—a further intensification of the already horrific action caused a second wave to jump up and go. Directed by William Fruet. We know that Kowalski is not glamorizing, or even dramatizing, which he seems to do in the scene of Gabrysia’s ordeal; in the murder scene, he’s de-dramatizing, simply insisting that we look. It is fair to say that they are on a journey together to a better place. Enter now a movie titled Playground, aka Plac Zabaw, that comes from the mind of Polish Writer/Director Bartosz M. Kowalski (The Red Spider 2006, A Dream in the Making 2012). For some strange reason, Kowalski has the audacity to make it seem there may be a school shooting of some sort, or that something of horror is about to occur during a school assembly. Movie Info On the last day of school, a 12-year-old girl sets up a secret meeting with a boy. Jesús allows us to understand young male violence; Playground, conversely, coldly presents violence to us in a way that doesn’t get us very far. We can barely see his face at this distance, but we can tell that he’s being dragged along forcibly. The Playground was created as a base for the Strategic Scientific Reserve in 1949. Kowalski’s film, however, is not entirely “objective,” if you can call Haneke’s approach that; at times, he brings something more impressionistic to bear. Although, this is not the case; for as the story keeps going, Gabrysia announces to her crush—Szymek!—how she feels, doing so in a dilapidated building known as The Ruins. Kowalski forces the audience to watch the entire 80 minutes of his movie that many people not familiar with such an incident are subjected to complete exploitation of a horrendous act of evil. The store is closed, so the boys move on; and the film’s most cold-blooded touch, for anyone who knows the Bulger case, is the way that this fifth section abruptly ends with a glimpse of a small boy in a play area. The interesting thing is Playground would have been better had it been a Documentary—a genre for which Kowalski is better known, such as 2015’s Unstoppables, and 2012’s A Dream In The Making. Yet it’s hard not to see Playground’s final sequence as specifically relating to Bulger’s death, so closely does it resemble the facts. It was just a time-waster, pushing the running-time longer than it had to be, and possibly scarring Actress Swistun for life. For shame. Playground starts off strongly, introducing three characters as they ready for their last day of school before Summer Vacation starts. The … However, the feeling of being stuck in this mucilage-state will make one wish to rip out his or her own eyes from the sockets at how insensitively gruesome and stupidly-long Kowalski decided to end the film. The film comes in six numbered, titled sequences. The fragmented overlapping episodes and the abrupt cuts, nudging us to make connections between disparate parts, all echo the approach Haneke developed in 71 Fragments for a Chronology of Chance (1994) and Code Unknown (2000). The problem is not that Playground doesn’t explain—it’s not obliged to—but that it over-explains, offers too many possible causes for the boys’ violence, most of them of a highly conventional kind. The reason why Eve has arrived here with Addie (and the dog Alfie) is never really completely explained. An older girl gives her a brisk lesson on how to chat up a boy; she’s not Gabrysia’s friend, however, but has been paid for her help. Kids do this? NBA star Malik Beasley's estranged wife Montana Yao hit the playground with their son Makai Joseph at South Pointe Park in Miami Beach on Saturday. Jesús may be more direct in its commentary on a generation’s vacancy, but the violence involved somehow feels more human, insofar as the energetic handheld style actually takes us into the minds of the aggressors: we actually feel their excitement at what they’re doing, even if we don’t identify with it. She now lives in Bray, County Wicklow with her partner and their little girl. The film isn’t nearly as overtly sophisticated as Playground, and its moral perspective is more conventional: punishment at last comes for one of the boys involved. While certain themes that are less taboo in cinema than they once were, we still often feel uncomfortable seeing them depicted as drama, even if it’s for our edification and moral sensitization. What Kowalski is displaying, ultimately, is nothing more than his own cold audacity. Another question arises!—what was the point of this? Nothing in these children’s world is done from any innocent altruism, as we see when the older girl tells Szymek that he has no choice but to do what Gabrysia says and meet him after school: if not, she says, “Your naked butt will go online.”. Playground is about children’s cruelty to children, and specifically about the violence witnessed in the long penultimate shot, in which two teenagers batter a young boy to death. Inspired by Leo Fitz's work on Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand, Holden Radcliffe reactivated the Life-Model Decoy Program and created Aida, his android assistant. ". The next section, “Szymek,” introduces us to a boy (Nicolas Przygoda) living on a drab estate, acting as carer to his father, a wheelchair user—and showing him tender, cautious compassion until suddenly, shockingly, he and his dad come to blows. The boy, lured away by Szymek and Czarek—although we don’t see how—is seen happily toddling along with them, swinging in the air as he holds their hands. By Katherine Harrington, Contributing Writer. There are many variations; most forms have no teams, scores, or equipment. The organizers did not want a neighborhood playground; rather they wanted a community playground for people throughout the town. To that end, after kidnapping Melinda May and connected her to the Framework, he and Aida successfully used a LMD of May, which was late… Playground’s coldness made a striking contrast with another detailed depiction of violence in a movie showing at San Sebastián—Chilean film Jesús, by Fernando Guzzoni. Many of the elements that trouble me about Playground are stylistic: Kowalski shows intense command of his material, but his repertoire of effects feels over-familiar. This could be said for anyone who had to endure such an atrocious on-screen exploitation of a parents’ nightmare. Taylor argues the government has failed to manage the pandemic effectively for business owners and explains what the future of theaters could look like in the streaming age. Kowalski’s film may or may not be directly based on the Bulger story; in his director’s statement, he simply refers to a case he had read about, although the press notes include clippings relating to an episode in Norway and a later case in the UK. Ronald McDonald Playground Slaughter turned McDonald's innocent clown mascot into a horrifying serial killer for a gory short film. Julia Kelly was born in 1969, studied English, Sociology and Journalism in Dublin, and escaped to London for the mad, bad years of life. Jonathan Romney is a contributing editor to Film Comment and writes its Film of the Week column. Enter now a movie titled Playground, aka Plac Zabaw, that comes from the mind of Polish Writer/Director Bartosz M. Kowalski (The Red Spider 2006, A Dream in the Making 2012). There are plenty of troubling issues in Playground that will no doubt fuel further discussions of the film. If Playground fails to convince, it’s partly because it largely seems such a textbook emulation of the Haneke approach. Then, as they walk through the woods, filmed from a distance in wide shot, the child is clearly not so happy. In the story, Charles Underhill is a widower who will do anything to protect his young son Jim from the horrors of the playground a playground which he and the boy pass by daily and the tumult of which, the activity, brings back to Charles the anguish It was officially released on Friday, October 13, 2017 on iTunes. Released on March 25, 1991, the song reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, #4 on the R&B chart, and #36 on the Dance chart. 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