You Have No Idea How Much I Love You

 

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A perfect illustration of how therapy can help troubled relationships.

 
You Have No Idea How Much I Love You   You Have No Idea How Much I Love You
 

Pawel Lozinski is a Polish filmmaker well established in his own country where he has built up a reputation through his documentaries, both shorts and so-called features. But this new work of his, the first to be released here, would appear to be unique in his output and, indeed, despite its modest length of 76 minutes, it is his longest film to date.

 

This is a truly remarkable film, one which gives us the opportunity to view a therapist at work. The man is Professor Bogdan de Barbaro and what we are invited to witness is neither an example of group therapy nor strictly speaking one to one sessions since two people are present with him throughout. Excluding any other footage, You Have No Idea How Much I Love You lets us look in on the work of an astute and sympathetic psychotherapist dealing with a deeply troubled relationship between a mother, Ewa, and her 23-year-old daughter, Hania, between whom communication has virtually broken down.

 

Some might argue that a work like this consisting of three talking heads is hardly cinematic, but that would be to underestimate the extent to which the emotional expressions on the faces of Ewa Szymczyk and Hanna Maciag contribute to the impact of what I feel certain will be one of the best films that I shall see this year. It is fascinating to observe the approach of the therapist and what he unearths is a powerful reminder of just how deeply rooted problems in a mother and daughter relationship can be. Anybody with limited knowledge of therapy sessions will be fascinated and will gain from the insight of what can be achieved. Indeed the film might even encourage some to accept the fact that therapy could help them, while others will benefit from this exploration of a relationship that echoes their own.

 

These days it is not uncommon for documentaries to incorporate dramatisations of one sort or another extending to such brilliantly successful experiments as Clio Barnard’s 2010 feature The Arbor in which actors were seen lip-syncing to the words of the actual people they represented. I knew before seeing You Have No Idea How Much I Love You that there was some element of dramatisation in it which had created controversy. This reaction needs to be mentioned if only to dismiss it since the issue appears to arise from the way in which the film has been promoted rather than from the film itself. There is no deceit in Lozinski’s film because a statement at the close provides a full disclosure. Reading it may make one see this work in a different light but it in no way reduces the insights and power of this exceptional piece. The most that it does is to make one appreciate its brilliance from a different angle.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Ewa Szymczyk, Hanna Maciag, Bogdan de Barbaro.

 

Dir Pawel Lozinski, Pro Pawel Lozinski and Agnieszka Mankiewicz, Ph Kacper Lisowski, Ed Dorota Wardeszkiewicz.

 

Lozinski Production/Telewizja Polska S. A./Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej-ICA Films.
76 mins. Poland. 2016. Rel: 16 February 2018. No Cert.