Wilczyca [She-Wolf] (1983)

Director: Marek Piestrak
Writer: Jerzy Gieraltowski, Marek Piestrak
Cast: Krzysztof Jasinski, Iwona Bielska, Stanislaw Brejdygant, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Henryk Machalica, Leon Niemczyk, Jerzy Prazmowski, Hanna Stankówna
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 29.9.2021

Content Note: abortion

Kacper (Krzysztof Jasinski) returns home from war to find his wife Maryna (Iwona Bielska) dying after a botched arbortion of a child that wasn’t his. And not only that, it appears that in his absence, Maryna has started to dabble in the dark arts. And she’s not about to make things easy for Kacper, either. As she dies, she curses him. Kacper’s brother (Jerzy Prazmowski) urges Kacper to make sure that Maryna can’t rise from her grave. After the deed is done, Kacper leaves to stay with a friend, Count Ludwik (Stanislaw Brejdygant). Once there, Kacper realizes that something is up with the Countess Julia (Iwona Bielska).

Wilczyca has interesting moments for sure, but it also has lengths and a very unlikeable protagonist, leaving me with only middling feelings about it.

The film poster showing the painting of a woman, half her face a skull. Behind her is a wolf, below and smaller a man.

Wilczyca’s biggest strength is Bielska in her double role. She was really fantastic, and not only because she naturally seems to have more teeth than is strictly usual which made her the perfect choice to play a werewolf-ghost. And that was the second biggest strength: the mythology was pretty interesting. Are we talking shapeshifter, ghost, haunting, possession, witchcraft? There is a little bit of everything, and I would have liked to see more of it.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t just focus on this, and on Julia, but shoves Kacper into your face at every turn, and I just could not stand him. I wanted to root for the wolf (especially since she’s openly bi, albeit a rather fetishistic variation of bi), and not for him, but the film doesn’t really give you the chance for that either. So you’re stuck in a very weird place, caught between hoping that Kacper gets eaten and the film insisting that Kacper is the hero of the story.

Maryna (Iwona Bielska) lying in her coffin, as a stake is driven through her heart.

I initially thought that not just Bielska was in a double role in the film, but also Jasinski – I thought he played both Kacper and Otto. I only realized while looking through the cast list after the film that Otto was played by Olgierd Lukaszewicz (I guess they do look similar, but probably not that similar that I couldn’t have noticed). I will admit that this was a bit disappointing, because I was already thinking about possible interpretations for this casting choice and I quite liked what I thought about. But I guess things got away from me there.

In any case, the film does have some lengths, and ultimately didn’t grab me as much as I would have liked. Still, it was an interesting watch, albeit not a new favorite.

Julia (Iwona Bielska) and Otto (Olgierd Lukaszewicz) walking together.

Summarizing: okay.

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