The Wedding is a tangibly realistic tragicomedy, a story of love and money, to be exact and a cautionary tale of sorts. A simple, very Polish story. Original at that, as it refuses to follow the American patterns. Its strength or universality and an eventual membership in the ranks of world’s cinema derives from its precise setting, which is the here and now of the Polish sticks in the southeastern corner of the country.
There are several layers to the film. The basic one addresses the mass, not very choosy audience who comes expecting to be amused. Its plot is logically structured with sufficient amount of suspense to keep the viewer firmly in his seat. It has a lively narrative, humor and horror, clearly motivated characters, and amusing dialog lines. Its message is blissfully straightforward: Money won’t buy you happiness and the sly fox loses twice as much. It is never so bad that it cannot get worse. 
The special layers are for the sophisticated viewer, weaned on art movies fare, film reviews and festivals, or reviews in popular film magazines, more or less on target.
The layers contain allusions, quotes, associations, and a plethora of observations of manners, mores, and local color. Most of the characters wear their scars on their faces, graduates from the school of hard knocks that they are. This is what makes them more interesting to me. What’s most important, however, is the vision we share of the movies. Each and every one of us in his own, unique way looks for the cinematic truth. The key to the truth in The Wedding is the naturalistic approach.

The Role of Video Recording at the Wedding
It is impossible to imagine a wedding nowadays without its video recording. The short statements the cameraman Mateusz shoots will help highlight certain scenes, and, juggled skillfully by the editor, may have a substantial bearing on the rhythm of the narrative.

Structure of the Script
Division into Acts, Turning Points, and Focussing Points
The script has been made in accordance with the generally accepted rules counting on the perception, concentration, and attention of the viewer. So the plot starts with a wedding ceremony, where most characters come out plus the Audi. One of the opening sentences is a fragment from the Romans (Priest’s lines), and the EXPOSITION ends in front of the firehouse when the viewer learns that Wojnar has not fulfilled all the conditions of the deal and Janusz carries his bride across the doorstep of the firehouse. FIRST TURNING POINT is the exposing of Mateusz and the bogus in-law’s threat as he shoots off Wojnar’s finger. The second act has two focussing points: The first is Grandpa’s death and the second when Wojnar learns that the Audi was stolen. SECOND TURNING POINT comes when Wojnar is told how valuable the strip of land is and now it is all clear that Janusz has married the car rather than Kate. Now follows the third act which FINALLY CULMINATES with Wojnar’s quarrel with his wife, the rest of his savings is stolen, and the moment when Kate batters the Audi with a spade.

The Rhythm
The Poles are reputed to have a hollow leg, especially at weddings. So I divided the special wedding drinking into four consecutive stages. Their beginnings and ends overlap with the essential points of the plot. Although the division is arbitrary, it affects the rhythm of the film nonetheless.

1. The Numbness, which means the initial tentative glasses when everybody is ill at ease. This stage lingers throughout the whole first act until the turning point when Wojnar has his finger shot off and Kate has Mateusz thrashed. The rhythm at this stage is at a slow tempo. The takes are relatively long and correct and the plot gradually thickens.

2. The Happy Euphoric Stage - lots of positive vibrations, meeting new people coupled with wholehearted attempts to keep up appearances. This stage starts along with the first turning point and lingers till the middle of the second act when the capping ceremony takes place and the bogus deed is signed (the mid-point). The takes are shorter, the grounds are narrower. The camera works more dynamically (steadycam), and the pace of the film definitely picks up.

3. The Drinking Proper - kidding is over now. What comes up is arguments and quarrels, hidden passions wake up, and inhibitions are no longer suppressed. The very mid-point of the film starts this particular stage, which is terminated with the second focussing point when Wojnar learns that the Audi was stolen. Static takes do not belong here any more. The frames seem congested. The camera is often hand-held and nervous. This marks a higher degree of the pace acceleration.

4. The Serious Boozing - down the table, a stage for the tough guys, that is. The wimps fall behind or are eliminated from the race, fall asleep, and puke. This begins with the second focussing point when Wojnar learns how valuable the strip of land is and Kate finds out why exactly Janusz has married her. This is a chaotic stage. Although still dynamic, the camera work here is not as important as the editing’s interference with the narrative. The related stories, scenes, and subplots come unstuck. The characters mostly draw a blank.

5. The Slaughter - the stage where you drink your last, fall asleep or sober up. This stage starts at the end of the second turning point and lingers throughout the whole third act. This is where all the subplots are straightened up to feature more prominently. This catharsis of sorts calms the viewer down.

© Grupa Filmowa 2004