THE BOOT FACTORY
"imagine the Sex Pistols making boots" L.K.
Cracow, a small group of punks make leather shoes in order to survive, but also to trample the surface of the streets in any way they deem fit. This film swifly plunges us in black and white into this little microcosm that makes its own rules while still remaining part of the system it rejects. Without any commentary, the film-maker Lech Kowalski follows the little artisanal company in its daily routine, given rhythm by the blows of hammers and the singing of anarchistic songs. Connections are spun, between workshop machines and electric guitars, between sewing needles and syringes. Little by little, manufacture improves, lives become organized, and the film recovers colour in a second part where various changes make themselves felt.
The camera moves around, discreet but always totally immersed in the events. It moves into extreme close-up, without hesitating to show the roughness of the leather and the scars in the skins. The pictures are tactile, tangible, touchable. The Boot Factory confronts us directly with reality, in a relationship of proximity sometimes pushed to the extreme. The film translates the brutality of the situations by unexpected movements of the camera and sudden changes in shooting angles. The sounds are incisive, the music intrusive, the scenes gather and tumble together. Everything about this film makes it a raw product. Nevertheless, the apparent spontaneity of the pictures conceals a real mastery of cinematographic techniques. In a very intimate manner, Lech Kowalski observes what is done and undone before his eyes, while retaining the necessary distance. He skilfully films the steps of the protagonists, not forgetting that it is also important to film the tracks they leave behind them.