Modern Cinema From Around the World: A Review of Krzysztof Krauze’s “The Debt [Dług]”


Similar to my last entry on Brother [Brat], the 1999 Polish film Dług examines characters in an Eastern European setting in the early 1990s. Both pieces of modern cinema are crime thrillers from Eastern Europe, and have characters who are forced to deal in criminal behavior. The main characters turn out morally questionable throughout both films, such as how I labelled Danila Bagrov as an anti-hero in my previous blog entry. These two films both bring attention to the gritty and harsh realities of the 1990s in Eastern Europe, in a culture affected by their countries’ turn to a capitalist system. Krauze’s characters, Adam and Stefan, are similar to Balabnov’s Danila Bagrov, as each of them are in a situation where they are forced to commit crimes to secure or retain a livelihood. What is so important about Adam and Stefan’s characters is that they were legitimate businessmen who were taken advantage of by an Russian extortionist, while Bagrov claims himself as an ex-army clerk who came into crime through family ties. At their core, these films are pathways to the psyche of some Eastern European citizens in the early 1990s.

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