In waning winter light, a doll maker works in his shop, a kerosene lamp beside him, a jumble of dolls and doll parts, whole and broken, surrounding him. There are noises, too: a cuckoo clock chirps the workday’s end. The artisan completes a repair and leaves, shuttering the shop from outside. Back inside, whispering begins. What else is in store for the shop’s seemingly lifeless denizens? –IMDb
The son of a Polish Jew and a Russian immigrant, Polanski was born in Paris on August 18, 1933. When he was three, his family moved to the Polish town of Krakow, an unfortunate decision given that the Germans invaded the city in 1940. Things went from bad to worse with the formation of Krakow’s Jewish ghetto, and Polanski’s family was the target of further persecution when his parents were deported to a concentration camp. Just before he was to be taken away, however, Polanski’s father helped his son escape, and the boy managed to survive with help from kindly Catholic families, although he was at times forced to fend for himself. (At one point, the Germans decided to use Polanski for idle target practice.) It was during this period that Polanski became a devoted cinephile, seeking refuge in movie houses whenever possible. Shortly after sustaining serious injuries in an explosion, Polanski learned of his mother’s death at Auschwitz. His father survived the camps, and moved back to Krakow… read more
Perfect short film. It sets the scene for Polanski's foray into the bleak depths of existence.