The theme certainly isn’t new, and Kolski wanders on the side of the path once tread by Luis Buñuel, so expertly from Viridiana (1961) to Simon of the Desert (1965) and The Milky Way (1969). While Buñuel imitators generally miss the mark — Wojciech Has’s ponderous The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) comes to mind — Kolski’s blend of abstract comedy, sensuality, and religious hocus pocus has a flavor and style that is fresh and appealing. Decidedly unlike Buñuel, however, Kolski favors linear construction, shying away from the surrealist’s abject cynicism, and heads toward the kind of morality Don Luis would’ve gagged on.
After the unfathomable critical success of Pornografia (2003) — a film that, to these eyes, succeeds all too well in capturing the monotony of, well, monotony, despite the involvement of Gérard Brach on the screenplay — Kolski’s earlier works are finding their way to DVD. Jancio Wodnik has its flaws, but the director and his actors (especially Franciszek Pieczka as the fake healer and Grazyna Blecka-Kolska as his patient, long suffering wife) seem to be enjoying themselves. And if the picture misses the mark thematically or morally, it’s still intriguing to see where it all ends up.