Art Comes to Life in The Peasants

The Peasants Review

Part artwork and part historical drama, The Peasants is breaking away from the film festival circuit and heading to theaters this weekend. The Polish film is set in 19th-century Poland and follows the story of Jagna, a young woman who wants nothing more than to live her life, but must follow the traditions of her community to survive.

It’s a story we’ve seen in one way or another before, a young woman forced to do something by others and later demonized for it. The theme is one that we’ve seen throughout history and film in the past. But The Peasants tries to take a different spin on it. Yes, Jagna made poor decisions in her past (by her village standards), and her marriage isn’t her choice, but she still tries to find small joys where she can. It’s the lot of being a woman, and even at the very end she seems to find her power – but she won’t have much better choices or options no matter where she goes. She’s a prisoner of her time and culture, and it’s a relatable story for a lot of women, even today.

The movie focuses on Jagna’s lack of power, the choices she doesn’t have a say in, and the brutality of the men in her life. It shows how quickly things can get out of control when it comes to mob justice and how the punishment was only put on her, not the other people who made decisions in her life. It shows how imbalanced the blame is put on Jagna and the other women, while the men in their lives are often rewarded despite doing the same things. But most of all, it shows that this type of inequality is a tale as old as time, and still a relatable story for a lot of viewers.

While the story of The Peasants isn’t one that we haven’t seen in some iteration or another in the past, the way it is told is breathtaking. Each cell of the film was taken and hand-painted by artists over two years. You can see the variation from scene to scene and the whole movie feels like a painting has come to life. It’s beautiful, it’s unique and the artistry can be seen with each brush stroke.

Unfortunately, the timing of the release puts the movie at odds with AI generation and viewers may confuse the look of the style being created with using an app. It doesn’t take away from the creativity or the hard work that went into making The Peasants come to life, but unless you know that the movie scenes were painted over film cells, it may not be as impactful. In an age where you can run images through an art AI filter and get an almost similar feeling, The Peasants may be the last movie to paint their cells and that is a loss to the industry and the art form.

The Peasants will be in select theaters this weekend.

Overall Rating:

Four Star Review

About The Peasants

The Peasants

The story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late 19th century Polish village – a hotbed of gossip and on-going feuds, held together, rich and poor, by pride in their land, adherence to colorful traditions and deep-rooted patriarchy. When Jagna finds herself caught between the conflicting desires of the village’s richest farmer, his eldest son and other leading men of the community, her resistance puts her on a tragic collision course with the community around her.
Starring Kamila Urzedowska, Robert Gulaczyk and Miroslaw Baka
Written and Directed by DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman
(Sony Pictures Classics)
Rated R



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