Seventeen-year-old Ola (Zofia Stafiej) travels to Ireland to bring her father’s body back to Poland after he died working on a construction site. But Ola has more things on her mind than dad. She wants to know if he saved money for the car he promised. So starts Piotr Domalewski’s curious film about family, self-discovery, and getting to know the world.
I Never Cry has been compared to the work of Ken Loach, and it’s true that Domalewski’s tale concerns itself with the same themes: ordinary people struggling against extraordinary odds. Ola’s tale is a realistic look at the difficulties faced by families separated by emigration, told against the backdrop of the life of Polish workers abroad, who are only ever present the lives of those they love, through regular money transfers. And, like Loach’s work, this is a film that frequently touches on the social and the political.
Behind every tragedy is a human story, and Domalewski tells his tale with a deft touch. There are times when this is a heart-breaking watch, but it’s those moments of human connection, of hope, and determination, that make this story so relatable.
Zofia Stafiej plays the rebellious teen, with a grudge against her father, with verve and empathy. The character she creates in Ola is never a stereotype, but, at the same time, is wonderfully recognisable.
Stafiej won the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award at the 2021 Dublin International Film Festival award for her performance, while Domalewski was the winner of the 2021 Best Film Emerging Director at Cheltenham International Film Festival. It shows—I Never Cry is a quality act that doesn’t disappoint.
I Never Cry is available on Blu-ray as a part of the Montage Pictures range. The first print run will feature a Limited-Edition Collector’s Booklet.