To mark six-month presidency of EU, Poland releases 3D ‘dance with stars’ video

Article published on July 1, 2011
Article published on July 1, 2011

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1 July marks the beginning of Poland’s rotating six-month presidency of the council of the European union. Foreign affairs minister Radoslaw Sikorsi commissioned an advert directed by 2003 Oscar nominee and 2006 BAFTA winner Tomasz Baginski – but do Poles like it?

Space is a key element of animation. The European entourage is modern but cold, full of glass houses, just like the buildings of the European union. Europe sits on an empty square – everyone is inside, working in offices. Alienated, she sits, surrounded by byzantine architecture. Suddenly a young man appears stage 'east'. His body is built and muscly, a reference to the famous Polish plumber stereotype.

This animation video marks the official start to the Polish presidency of the European union, who are taking over for six months after Hungary’s stint at the top. At a press conference on 27 June, director Tomasz Baginski explains that ‘it’s the Polish people who initiate events and who change reality.’ The director, who won a BAFTA in 2006 for Fallen Art and was nominated for a 2003 Oscar in the best short animation category for The Cathedral, describes dance as the best way to depict this change and illustrate the idea that this presidency will have in the current state of affairs. It uses plenty of symbols, allegories and poetic connotations.

Janja Lesar and Krzysztof Hulboj, who star in the three-minute video, are famous for being on popular television programmes such as Dance with the Stars and You Can Dance. The celebrity Cuban-Polish choreographer Agustin Egurolla guided them against a waltz background with a contemporary touch. ‘We wanted the music to unite the typical elements of the European community, Poland and contemporary popular music. Waltz is one of the most famous and widespread dances in Europe. The piano sections remind us of Chopin’s music and the dynamic contemporary parts refer to modern music,’ adds Adam Skorupa, who composed the soundtrack. The film took nine months for the Platige Image studio to make and counted on the work of over twenty graphic designers.

But what do young Poles think of this video representing them at an EU level?

'With all the technical means and budget they had at their disposal (the film cost 600, 000 zloty or 150, 000 euros), they could have paid the creators to do something with this project. It’s money flushed down the toilet. We don’t even know who this little video addresses – young Europeans? Politicians? Joe Bloggs? We’re tired of this dancing with the stars business in Poland. (Choreographer) Egurrola seems to be everywhere’

Filip, 22

‘This poor Europe is so lonely ! The Poles do have a southern temperature (I have seen the tango and paso doble in this choreography), and this will heat Europ up. They come from the east – a blonde guy in a red shirt (typical Poles) grabs his fellow dancer from behind like a European politician would grab a chambermaid. He turns around her and shimmies up to her. And she, she says NO! Although in reality they’re both thinking the same thing! At that precise moment he caresses her neck and says: you can dance! It’s difficult to know who made this film!’

Aleksandra, 26

‘It’s good that we hired professionals to create this project, such as Baginski and Egurrola. However I think the form exceeds the content. The animation is beautiful and plastic, the music is OK, but where’s the depth and the message? It could have been more original’

Andrzej, 20 

‘The Polish presidency would create a self-destructive Inception out of ideas, but it’s difficult to convince the rest of Europe with that’

Ignacy, 33 

‘Beautiful creation – Baginski’s work impresses and the music is inviting. But at first glance at this iridescent miniature of Poland which is building the European community, would each Pole themselves understand that this is really about Poland? Can they recognise themselves in this video, or merely think about those popular evening television dance shows? Poland certainly wasn’t the first thing I saw in it’

Dominika, 30 

‘Oh my! I would never have understood what this was a promotional video for. I am sure that people still don’t know – maybe it’s for a dance school? We can criticise this spot for hours and hours. Melancholy music has nothing to do with strong, positive feelings. That’s one more error for when it comes to how they presented the image. The presidency of the EU has to influence the coming of events, take responsibility and this is now how they need to start, with this romantic melancholic thing marking the beginnings of computer animation’

Lukasz, 29

Images and videos official Polish Presidency for EU (cc) SoInteractiveChannel; futureshorts/ Youtube