ŁOKAJ

ŁOKAJ


TEXT

2.35:1, HD large scale installation or cinema screening, 22 Min, 2014.

with actor: Bartosz Ostowski

A mountaineer is left alone in the mountains following an unknown tragedy. Set in the late 1970’s, Łokaj is a narrative non-dialogue film filmed entirely on location in the Polish Tatra with genuine period mountaineering equipment.

In communist Poland of the 1970’s and early 80’s the only way to escape from the absurdity and the de-individualising force of the communist system that  denied any substantial personal achievement was to become a mountaineer. As a Mountaineer decisions could once again be made in proximity to personal risk and potential death that momentarily reinstated individual control over ones own life.

Not only did the activity provide a tantalising emulation of freedom, but so too did its location. The Tatra Mountains not only allowed mountaineers to cross the Polish boarder freely; though illegally into Slovenia and Czechoslovakia, it also provided a concealed meeting place for the exchange of dissident ideology’s and literature. In some ways the mountains literally became the frontier for the misanthrope and a threshold for the exchange of illicit individualistic knowledge.

These mountaineers would go on to climb the largest of the Himalayan mountains in some of the most difficult conditions to achieve some of alpinism’s hardest firsts such as the 1980 Everest 1st Winter accent by Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki.  Yet until the dissolution of Polish Communism in 1990, the Polish mountaineer was never without the continuing threat of exile or the underwhelming prospect of returning home to a communist country.