For decades, Jola did what was expected of her. As a mother of six and the wife of an abusive husband, she would put on her make-up and colourful clothes to pretend everything was fine. One day something breaks inside her and she finds the strength to leave her husband and start living life to the fullest. “This part of life belongs to me!” she says. She hangs out with her girlfriends, dances in Café Smile, writes poems and songs. She’s letting loose, finally enjoying life and singing about love – something she’s always dreamt of, yet never experienced. Suddenly Jola finds herself thrust into a new romance when she unexpectedly meets Wojtek, who treats her like a queen, at a Latino dancing class. Will she be able to open up and embrace love for the first time? Especially, when she finds out that she has less time than she thought?
Directors Małgorzata Goliszewska and Kasia Mateja were making a small documentary about Café Smile, a dancing club for seniors in Szczecin, where they met Jola. They were fascinated by Jola’s larger-than-life personality and tragic life story, and she immediately became the focus of a much more ambitious film. The film’s producer Anna Stylinska says “She was full of inconsistencies – at the same time tragic and comic, strong and weak, pretty and ugly, funny and serious… I knew some people would love her and some would be discouraged by her coldness. Only later on we discovered the real topic of the film…”
Lessons of Love won the Best Directors Award at the Moscow International Documentary Film Festival DOKer 2020, the Zwierciadło Magazine Award at Millennium Docs Against Gravity 2020, and the Lower Silesia Grand Prix at Millennium Docs Against Gravity 2020.