KILL IT AND LEAVE THIS TOWN Film Review – Existential Loneliness and Alienation

A monochromatic rendering of a bleak, industrial Polish city opens this animated film. Tall smoke stacks spew dark soot day and night. Buildings sit in neat rows on deserted streets.  A tram, or what Americans would call a trolley or train, comes into the city at regular intervals. It appears to be the only way in or out of this dismal landscape.

Lights from windows and a single streetlight are yellow…

A curious, pink neon sign in the outline of an elephant is on top of a building a few blocks away. These lights are like a handful of stars in a landscape of empty sky.

There is no warmth here, only a feeling of existential loneliness and alienation.

Kill It and Leave This Town immerses us in the personal memories of filmmaker Marius Wilczynski and his childhood behind the Iron Curtain. It’s of dreams and fantasies coupled with the weary, daily grind of life in Poland.  During this same 60’s to 80’s timeframe –just as R. Crumb was drawing women in a way that he objectified their sexuality, with big, bouncing breasts and nipples—Wilczynski, is drawing women with big breasts and nipples too, but here their nipples are pointed in a dagger-like scary or threatening way.

Scenes unfold to convey a harsh life.  When a rude, disaffected shop keeper closing up his store tells a frantic woman who needs bread before her tram leaves to get the bread herself and lay down exact change, we see live fish are in a bucket of water on the counter gasping for air. Suddenly, people are swimming among the fishes from side to side, furiously trying to tread water just to survive.

Kill It and Leave This Town Uses a Jagged-Style

The animations in Kill It and Leave This Town are inked crudely, in a jagged-style. They look like they were drawn and made into cut outs and manipulated through animation to show movement.  Blackbirds peck the eyes out of a severed head with deep, red colored blood flowing out of the eye sockets.  Line drawings capture nuances such as when a woman takes a frayed thread through the needle and sews methodically, there is precision and movement with every stitch.

Driving Guitar Soundtrack

Sound plays a major role in this animation. Tadeusz Nalepa’s driving guitar soundtrack from the same time period as the film takes place, is powerful and feels like blood pulsing through the body of the story, in this writer’s opinion. The lyrics are poetry mirroring daily life. While the Blues music provides passion and a refuge, the voices inflict emotional suffering.—a child crying, an old woman’s weak and lonely words or the nonchalant dialogue of a morgue assistant placing plugs in the orifices of a dead body.

Love animations? Kill It and Leave This Town is excellent, in this writer’s view, but not for everyone.  It’s graphic, bloody, and painful, not like a Tarantino movie, but more similar to an animated and secular Hieronymus Bosch painting. Due to the emotional impact of this work of art, this viewer chose not watch this film multiple times. You too, though, might add Tadeusz Nalepa music to your playlist.


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Run time: 88 minutes

Director: Marius Wilczynski
Actors: Anja Rubik, Tadeusz Nalepa, Andrzej Wajda, Anna Dymna
Writer: Marius Wilczynski
Music: Tadeusz Nalepa

For more information on the film and how to screen it visit the Kill It and Leave This Town website.

Images courtesy of Kill It And Leave This Town.

Caryn Hoffmann
Caryn Hoffman

About the Author: Caryn Hoffman

Ms. Hoffman has a degree in art and her life’s work has been environmentally and  politically focused. After community organizing on both coasts, she had a career as an educator in Southern California. Now, semi-retired, Ms. Hoffman leads an active, outdoor lifestyle, continues to advocate for the environment and travels. She is especially fond of art, film, cultural events and is an ardent, live music fan. She loves adventure travel including camping, hiking, kayaking, rafting and road biking.

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