Russian woman spends months with her son in an refugee centre in London, waiting for her fiancé who never turns up. Misery combatted with humour and vitality.
‘What I didn’t want to make was one of those British issue-based gritty films about life in the margins’, according to the Polish-born director Pawlikowski. Last Resort is indeed not the depressing social drama that it could have been, judging by the story that Pawlikowski wants to tell.Tanya is a young Russian woman who arrives with her small son at a station in London, to be united with her British fiancé. However she is stopped at the border by suspicious immigration officials. To avoid being sent straight back to Moscow she asks for political asylum. She is taken to Stonehaven, a centre for asylum seekers. She keeps trying to get in touch with her fiancé, but without success. While awaiting a decision about her status, she is given a flat and a handful of food vouchers. Her fiancé never turns up, but it will take months before she can officially be sent back to Russia. Despite its far-from cheerful story, Last Resort is not a sad film. That is largely thanks to the appealing characters, who manage to transcend their miserable circumstances and chilling surroundings with vitality, humour and warmth. Despite the British setting, the film does not look very British: the monotonous concrete landscape with its subtle shades of grey almost looks beautiful. Last Resort won the Golden Alexander at the Thessaloniki Festival. –IFFR
Paweł Pawlikowski (born 1957) is a Polish-born, Oxford-based, BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker and academic. He garnered much acclaim for his BAFTA Award-winning Last Resort which he wrote and directed in 2000 and My Summer of Love, loosely based on Helen Cross’ novel, which also won a BAFTA and a string of other awards at festivals around the world.
At the age of 14, Pawlikowski left communist Poland to live in Germany and Italy, before settling in Britain. In the late 1980s and ‘90s Pawlikowski was best known for his documentaries, whose blend of lyricism and irony won him many fans and awards around the world. Moscow Pietushki was a poetic journey into the world of the Russian cult writer Venedikt Erofeev, for which he won Emmy and RTS Awards, a Prix Italia and others. The multi-award winning Dostoevsky’s Travels was a tragi-comic road movie with a St Petersburg tram driver and the only living descendant of Fyodor Dostoevsky, as he travels rough around Western Europe haunting… read more