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EIFF 2013: Traffic Department (Wojciech Smarzowski, 2013)

June 21, 2013

Traffic Department Drogówka

The eponymous police department of Wojtek Smarzowski’s film is made up of such corrupt individuals that any one of them could plausibly be the star of their own Bad Lieutenant. Rampant debauchery is the norm for the Warsaw officers, their vices extending beyond dabbling in simple bribery with those unlucky enough to be stopped or tracked down by them. Heavy substance abuse and fistfights are regular features of the policemen’s lives in the film’s opening hour, as are frequent forays into sex with prostitutes, often on the side of the road during shifts.

Complementing the film’s content excesses is its aesthetic, a mixture of lightning fast editing and varied use of different cameras, from traditional film to CCTV footage, video recordings and footage shot on mobile phones. Regarding the former attribute, the drive of the film’s lightning fast pacing and editing, in concurrence with the oft-grisly and savagely graphic activities visualised, brings to mind one particularly notorious work of debauchery depiction: Jonas Åkerlund’s music video for The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”, a comparison also enhanced by the cinematography’s select uses of first-person shots…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight

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