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Entry updated 2 June 2017. Tagged: Film.

Polish film (1988; vt King Size). Zespół Filmowy Kadr. Directed by Juliusz Machulski. Written by Jolanta Hartwig and Juliusz Machulski. Cast includes Jacek Chmielnik, Katarzyna Figura, Grzegorz Heromiński and Jerzy Stuhr. 105 minutes. Colour.

Fairytale motifs [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] are combined with the theft of a Conceptual Breakthrough in the form of a Drug to mock the absurdities of a totalitarian regime in this Satire from Poland.

Fugitive Lilliputian Scientists Olgierd Jedlina (Chmielnik) and Adaś Haps (Heromiński) emerge from the Wainscot Society of Szuflandia ["Drawer-Land"] in possession of the top-secret formula for "King Size" – a potion that allows Lilliputians to increase in bulk and thereby blend with the world of full-sized people beyond Szuflandia (see Great and Small). Life in the "normal-sized" world grants Lilliputians access to democratic liberties absent from the Lilliputian realm, such as social interaction with women (see Women in SF). The formula had previously been a strictly-regulated secret of the Lilliputian state, limited primarily to the top government officials of Szuflandia's autocratic regime. The highest-ranking official of the state, Szyszkownik Kilkujadek (Stuhr), leads the investigation directed at capturing the two escapees together with other members of the Lilliputian underground resistance.

King Size stands out from other Polish movies in terms of its scenography and special effects. Props and sets representing everyday environments are rescaled, with actors interacting with their surroundings as if they are truly minuscule and with Szuflandia acting as a vehicle for outbursts of surreal humour that merge fabulist themes with overtones of political tyranny (see Politics): Kilkujadek's motorcade is composed of a spring-wound toy car that requires rewinding mid-action, for instance, and he uses an old kettle as his private sauna. The government's monopoly over the potion "Kingsajz" serves as allegory for the ultimate corruption of any authoritarian regime. Director and co-author of the script Juliusz Machulski reverses the usual fairytale Cliché of the enchanted land beyond this [see Faerie in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] to represent Szuflandia as a quasi-Stalinist Dystopia and the Poland of 1988 as a liberal and seemingly-free country. The stark contrast spoke volumes to audiences at the time of the film's release, when just one year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Poland was suffering from fiscal depression and its government remained a long way from embracing any of the Economic principles of the Western democracies. [JPy]

see also: Polish Sociological SF.


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