“Close ties” is a film about my grandparents. When I was 18, I caught on camera a two-hour argument which began when my grandfather purchased a drying rack and an ironing board without his wife’s permission. The situation, which at first seemed absurd and trivial, was concluded when my grandma Barbara told her husband: “You came back after 8 years of living with another woman and want to rearrange my entire home”. After this, they sat down and ate their dinner in silence. It was at this moment that I felt this was a story worth telling.
As I was growing up, I observed many relationships which fell apart. It was particularly painful to see my own parents go through a turbulent divorce. My grandparents, unlike many other couples, chose to be together again after 8 years of separation. Their courage to try again was somewhat confusing to me, but also very moving. I was curious to see whether two people that once broke up can create a lasting bond again.
I am extremely grateful to my grandparents for their trust, courage and openness during the shooting of my film. Together with my film crew, I spent many days in their small apartment in Cracow. I was aiming to create a simple and natural film, focused on the emotions resulting from everyday interactions between the grandparents in their tiny living space. It was important to me and my cinematographer, Weronika Bilska, to follow not only situations of conflict, but for the camera to observe moments in which the characters compromise. We used static, long shots to let the audience delve further into the world they observe. The use of long camera lens enabled us to shoot a very intimate story in a tiny apartment without overwhelming the characters.
As I was observing my grandparents in a very difficult period in their lives, I wanted to make sure the camera was a sensitive observer. I did not want to judge them, or assume anyone’s blame. I believe that difficult topics should be addressed lightly, humorously, with a lot of faith in the characters.