Silent Night Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Silent Night (pl. Cicha Noc) 2021 Ending Explained | Horror Movie Recaps | Review.

Thirty-year-old Pole Adam (David Ogrodnik), working in the Netherlands, returns to Poland for Christmas, to the country house of his parents. Formally – to celebrate Christmas in the circle of his large family, but in fact, Adam has his own clear goal. The fact is that his girlfriend Asya, who lives in Poland, is pregnant, they will have a baby soon, so Adam plans to move his girlfriend to the Netherlands and set up his own company there.

Adam has no initial capital, the bank will not give him a loan, and the only asset that the family has, except for the house in which they all live, is the grandfather’s house, which is currently empty, because the parents of the grandfather who drinks heavily after the death of his grandmother Adam was taken to live in his house so that his grandfather would not do something while drinking.

So Adam decided to sell his grandfather’s house, start his own company with the proceeds, and then, when the company develops, Adam will pay the rest of the family members their shares. Well, more precisely, Adam himself made such a plan for himself, but it is not very clear whether he will be able to get the consent of his father and his other brothers and sisters, of whom he has four: two brothers and two sisters. And Adam’s relationship with relatives, especially with his middle brother Pavel (Tomasz Zitek), is quite tense.

***

“Silent Night” (Silent Night – in English, Cicha noc – in Polish) is the name of the famous Christmas carol, the performance of which encourages families to gather around the Christmas table and celebrate one of the main holidays of the year together.

This film is the full-length debut of the actor and director Piotr Domalewski, which actually caused a sensation in Poland itself: it received seven prizes at the Gdynia Film Festival, including the main one.

Why did the picture get such a response? Yes, because in it Domalevsky talks about things that are very close to many Poles: a provincial hopeless life, complex family relationships, which, of course, are greatly influenced by a miserable life, the need to go to work abroad, the disunity of families, due to the fact that the breadwinner is absent for a long time, earning money for the family, while practically not taking part in the upbringing of children – all this is well known and understandable both to many Poles and to the director himself, who in many interviews talks about the problems of migration and about children from migrant families, who are called “Euro orphans”, because the mass departure of Poles abroad in search of work began in 2004, from the moment Poland became a member of the European Union.

Relations in the family of Adam Domalevsky shows with obvious sympathy for these confused and tired people. And he himself said that the prototypes of some of the characters in the picture were his relatives, whose actions he himself tried to explain and understand in this way.

That is, there is no such conscious blackness when the very bottom is shown (which the director in English is reproached by a person with a Polish surname in a review on IMDB), at the same time there is no desire to somehow simplify and embellish all these very difficult relationships. It’s just a big family as it is – with all its advantages and disadvantages.

Therefore, there will be quarrels, and vodka, and scuffle, which is almost inevitable in such cases, but the film is not about that. Not about vodka and not about scuffle. And about life, about family grievances, about mutual understanding and about forgiveness.

And, as in any realistic and life film, there are practically no bad and good people here, they are just people with their desires, hopes, disappointments and grievances. Each of them is good and bad in its own way.

The main character of the picture, Adam, is handsome and charming, at first you sympathize with him, but in the process of viewing you understand that there are a lot of purely selfish motives in his actions. He decided to leave this disgusting village life and take away his bride, and for this he wants to sell the only more or less valuable family asset, promising someday later to return the shares to other family members. If you want to return. And if he can return, which is not at all a fact, because Adam’s confidence that his own business in a foreign country will be successful is, generally speaking, based on nothing.

And almost at the very beginning they show us that Adam is clearly going to splurge on the family’s eyes – he rents a foppish Lexus for a day and tells his relatives that this is his own car.

David Ogrodnik is very organic in the role of Adam: he plays in semitones, quite restrained, but his character is quite interesting and you sympathize with him, despite the fact that some of Adam’s actions are not very ethical, and in relations with relatives there is somehow no particular warmth in him – well, except perhaps in relation to both sisters, both the eldest and the youngest. However, this is all quite understandable: Adam cannot forgive his father, which practically did not exist in his childhood, with his middle brother he has problems in relationships for several reasons, and despite the fact that Adam seems to be offended by his brother (it explains at the beginning why), and Paul himself treats his brother with obvious hostility.

Tomasz Zitek also liked the role of Pavel. He is completely taciturn and unfriendly, and it is clear that the guy has accumulated a lot of things inside, so it is better not to be around when it all breaks through. But, however, it is actually still more complicated and confusing than it seems at first.

From other acting works, I really liked Arkadiusz Jakubik, who played Adam’s father (he is never called by name), and Agnieszka Suchora, who played Teresa, Adam’s mother. Adam’s father worked hard all his life abroad in menial jobs, trying to provide the family with a decent existence, because of this, he practically did not see his family, which the children blame him for. And what could he really do if there was no work to be found in their area, but there was at least some chance?

He did not achieve anything noticeable in his life, he returned home with poor health, he drank heavily from melancholy and despair, but, however, he quit for a while, although it is clear that he will soon break down anyway. At the same time, Yakubik turned out to be a character that is not at all pathetic, but, on the contrary, is somehow very pretty. It can be seen that he is a good person, it’s just that life somehow passed like this – a little ridiculous, but nothing can be returned.

Mother Teresa also causes sympathy and sympathy. Big family, husband is away all the time, five children, big house, a lot of problems. The children grew up – the problems only added. Now Teresa needs to somehow gather her family for Christmas dinner, reconcile Adam and Pavel, because of whose quarrel she is very worried, to prevent her husband from breaking out with a drink, to prevent his grandfather from being cut into shreds. And it is clear that in her youth she was beautiful, and even all these endless household worries did not turn her into a shabby housewife, and she is trying her best to make the family celebrate Christmas with dignity.

Good movie, I liked it. The story seems to be simple, but it is memorable and leaves a good aftertaste: after watching it, it all popped up in my memory several times, and it often happens that you watch a movie, turn it off and forget about it forever. No, this one just stayed in my head, and this is a sign that the story shown has hooked something, as they say.

Because here everything is close, understandable and realistic: there is a feeling that you are watching a family video of a large family celebrating Christmas, and not a film production. (And there an amateur camera appears all the time: first, Adam himself shoots everything around for his unborn child, and then his younger sister takes the camera and also films everything that happens.) And I love such films in the style of “slice of life”, and here this cut is quite skillfully done.

I just do not understand why the genre of this film is defined as a tragicomedy (and this is clearly misleading some viewers, judging by the reviews on IMDB). Of course, this is a drama, in which, however, there are certain black humor elements, but that’s all. But there is no obvious darkness, it’s just such a family story. It happens, yes, it happens.

Silent night / Cicha Noc review

Directed by: Piotr Domalewski Cast: David Ogrodnik, Tomasz Zitek, Agnieszka Suchora, Arkadiusz Jakubik, Marija Debska, Tomasz Schuchardt, Magdalena Zak, Amelia Tyszkiewicz, Pavel Nowisz, Elzbieta Kempińska

Drama, Poland, 2017, 100 min.

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