Grzegorz Cisiecki’s dialogue-free seven-minute short film Dym (Polish for “Smoke”) is both dazzling and baffling. It speaks volumes without saying a word, flinging weird and strangely iconic imagery at you like there’s no tomorrow. Some interpret that sort of filmmaking as nothing but pretentiousness masquerading as art. And that is most certainly an apt description for a lot of this type of filmmaking. But not so with Dym.
It does lack any sort of narrative sense, and for that reason is not what you would call enjoyable. But even in the short length of it time it lasts for it manages you bewilder and amaze in equal measure. The contrasting colours. The mega close-ups. The eerie musical score. The tape recorder placed on top of the plate of blood. The stark white opening and closing title screens which bookend the short. That smoke. All this and more makes for a memorable experience, one well worth taking in especially considering it will take up only seven minutes of your time.
There’s also a magnetic central performance that, without any words or even a name (in fact, none of the faces who appear are given names), draws you in, almost placing you in the mindset of the main character. Film fans will surely also get a kick out of the not-so-subtle references to Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut in a key scene, and even a broader homage to the great David Lynch. Channelling two of the cinema’s most original and visionary filmmakers without it seeming like it’s shamelessly ripping them off is a feat in and of itself.
I’m still not quite sure what Dym is about, what it’s trying to say or even why it affected me. But no matter how writer/director Cisiecki managed it, the point is it did affect me. Perhaps making sense of it would ruin the illusion.
You can check out the short film “Dym” HERE.