Ałła wants to become a ballet dancer very much. It is her yet another attempt to be admitted to the famous Russian Waganowa Ballet Academy in Sant Petersburg. Entrance exams are extremely difficult for her. Ałła needs to practice more to lengthen her legs since her proportions are not correct. 52% is an ideal ratio of legs to height. The film was made during the second edition of the project Russia - Poland. New Gaze.
A documentary about love, friendship and sexuality of the disabled from Rafał Skalski, who made his directing debut with "52 Percent". Disability remains a taboo in our society. Many people avoid interactions with the disabled as they are not sure how to behave in their company. In reality, however, the differently-abled share the same dreams, desires, needs and aspirations like us. Characters portrayed in Rafał Skalski’s documentary are people who despite their limitations celebrate life at its best. Instead of avoiding daily problems, they find courage to challenge them. All characters have someone. Wheelchair-bound Krzyś plans his life with differently-abled Ola, whereas sight-impaired Grzegorz and disabled Ania cannot image their life spent apart. „He is my legs and I am his eyes,” says Ania. Five-year old Wiktoria is the fruit of love of the mobility-challenged Ela and her fully-abled husband, Rafał. Characters fail to feel different or inferior. They openly invite the audience to explore the intimate world of their male-female relationships. As they admit themselves, their sexuality is nothing extraordinary but they do realise that this aspect of their life appears to be most exciting.
The main character of the film is a young twenty-something-year-old yuppie leaving in Bangkok, just starting an independent life without parents. He works in a big corporation, lives fast and enjoys his life – apart from observing him at work, we accompany him during parties and discos. He knows how to have fun.Most of his peers have already fulfilled their socio-cultural duty and become temporary Buddhist monks. Our character cannot avoid that any longer. His family pressures him enormously. Even his boss claims that joining a wat (a Buddhist monastery) would be good for him. Many people keep telling him that he should do it for his mother and for her karma – owing to that his mother’s life is suppose to become much better. Because of the pressure put on him by his parents and surrounding, the character starts to prepare for the monk exam. He has to memories 227 orders that oblige each Buddhist novice. Time passes and the character takes the exam that is to check his knowledge of those basic lessons of Buddha.After passing this exam, he takes monastic ordination. His family walks him to the temple where an abbot asks him many questions in an ancient Pali language. Having heard his correct answers a priest hands him special robes and bowl to collect alms. The week of being a monk is totally different than his everyday life, which we saw before. He spends the monastery days meditating, calming down, collecting alms in nearby villages. Together with the character, we meet other monks who live in the monastery. Some of them are also temporary monks – they joined the monastery only for one or two weeks, or sometimes for one month. There are also some older, permanent monks who decided to stay them for life. How is our character adjusting to the life in monastery? Is this going to become a serious matter for him or only an one-off adventure? Is one week enough to learn something? We can answer these questions observing him after he leaves the monastery and comes back to his everyday life.
Monk of the Sea
Tum, a student of economy, lives in Bangkok and starts his independent life without parents. He lives fast and enjoys his life – he parties and fools around with his friends. In Thailand, a 20-year-old boy becomes a rightful man for his society only after becoming a monk. For this reason, about 70% of young men join Buddhist monasteries – wats - every year. Most of the time, they stay there for a few weeks only. They come there to find their inner silence, to learn how to meditate, but also to please their families and to gain respect of other people. Tum hasn’t become a monk yet, as he claims that he leads a very busy life and has no time for it. However, he knows he should do it for his mother and for her karma to get better. But the most important thing is that Tum has also realized that his stay in a monastery could help him find his life goal, and he starts to long for it more and more desperately. Tum decides to become a monk in Wat Khun Samut Trawat near Bangkok. There are only five of other monks in the Wat and all of them are “permanent” monks – monks for life. The abbot of the Wat - Khun Samut Trawat is against the phenomenon of short-term monks. He claims that it’s unfeasible to learn the essence of Buddhism and to change your life just in a few weeks. No one has done that in Wat Khun Samut Trawat for a long time. Tum will be the first one who tries since years.