SIFF 2011: Tomorrow Will Be Better

In her dark, totally unsentimental films about children (Devils, Devils; Crows, I Am), Polish director Dorota Kedzierzawska has always gifted her youthful, mostly female protagonists with old, outlaw souls hungry for family and freedom. Even the lonely old woman facing her Time to Die (2007) possesses the lively face and maverick spirit of a wild child. In Tomorrow Will Be Better Kedzierzawska focuses on three boys, street kids as feral as abandoned cats or dogs, who set out to cross the Russian border into Poland, Huckleberry Finns lighting out for territories they might call home.

The ragamuffin trio consists of two older pals, perhaps 12, and an angelic urchin, no more than 6 or 7, who may suck his thumb and clutch a threadbare teddy bear but is already an old hand at staying alive—sly enough to use his sweet looks to charm bread from a toothless crone or break the heart of a hardcase cop. His big brother alternates between pretending to leave the troublesome kid behind and cradling him as a mother would a child. There are indissoluble “family” ties here, born not of nurture, but of nature and necessity. Kedzierzawska’s lost children always hook up by choice, on the run, finding love outside clean, well-lighted places.

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