"LAST SEASON" BY SŁAWOMIR WITEK
"Last Season" by Sławomir Witek resembles documentary films which were made before the era of television. This shorter than thirteen minutes miniature film is devoid of off-screen commentary, the words uttered in the film are only sounds which build a specific mood, do not form dialogues. All that is the most important in the film by Witek - emotions, mood - come to us through the image, a classic form, which was used by the masters of this genre.
"Last Season" is a record of one day, and at the same time, of a world in a drop. We look at the work of two Baltic fishermen: an older and a younger one. We do not know their names, and we learn they are related only from the end credits, so we interpret their relationship as that of a master and an apprentice. At sea, they are doomed to each other and the elements surrounding them. Their work, from dawn to dusk, is filled with numerous rituals, which are painstakingly shown by Witek, but it is the contact with unpredictable nature that makes each day of theirs a mystery and a question about a successful catch and the safe return home. The younger fisherman does not only take "lessons" from his master, but he also has to learn how to struggle and co-exist with the elements surrounding him. In this context, "The Last Season" appears to be a film about tradition, about learning, about transferring knowledge and experience, and all this so that the world, which is passing away, would survive.
This world which is passing away is, of course, fishing. Even the title itself asks the question whether or not we watch the protagonists during their last season at sea. The documentary film debut by Sławomir Witek can also be interpreted in a deeper way: it is the story of the world which is passing away, in which man and nature are close to each other and form a special relationship, through which such professions as fishing, but also other primeval professions, have nobleness in themselves, something exceptional, which is not the domain of the contemporary civilisation.