From the synopsis we learn that the main character of ‘The Last Trick’, Zenon Andryjewicz, has been running a children’s circus school in Lviv for many years and currently his thoughts are turning more and more often to retirement… Marcin Nowak in his documentary piece about the Ukrainian teacher is doing a wonderful job in showing the former, while the latter is not that obvious.
Ukraine is on the outskirts of Europe. The internal conflict within the borders of that country is not stopping the daily life, which is still struggling to get rid of the post-soviet reality. It’s unlike Bulgaria for example, which hasn’t been lucky enough to enter the EU. Scars left by the previous regime on the surface of the cities and people’s souls are filled with hope which is exercised especially by the young people.
In ‘The Last Trick’, between narrative brackets drawn by the momentum of hula-hoops one can find a lot of stories: in the faces of the master and his students; in the empty seats amongst the audience of a circus; in the silence; in the effort made by young performers and in the small details of a city life.
Marcin Nowak, Polish photographer, cinematographer and director, painted a beautiful picture which shows his prowess in the visual arts. You can sense the emotions, the history, and the struggle of an old teacher. The contrast is especially prominent with the juvenile spirit. Sadly, it feels like what we got in ‘The Last Trick’ is just a fragment of the whole work. A short film, which is… too short. Nonetheless, the moral of this story is simple and clear: the show must go on.
author: James Plumley