Aneta Popiel-Machnicka’s documentary Sometimes I Dream I’m Flying, is a beautifully shot look at the life of Weronika, a young Polish ballet dancer. The film is a marvel in the visual department, and it spends an impressive five years with its subject, covering everything from her training to her traveling, to various performances. The content brings little new to the table if you’ve seen any dance docs before, however this one does it in a very aesthetically pleasing manner.
Although the film takes place over five years of Weronika’s career, the runtime clocks in at a quick 75 minutes which makes much of her story feeling truncated. It plays out almost like a highlight reel of her life, showing us specific scenes involving a certain rehearsal or injury she sustained, followed by a transitional scene featuring some gorgeous slow motion. None of this is necessarily bad, however some may be disappointed with its shallow nature.
The cinematography in Sometimes I Dream I’m Flying are definitely the film’s strongest aspect, with everything looking way better than most docs. While it all looks great, the slow motion shots are the clear highlight. Shot using a Phantom, these expertly done scenes add a solid bit of flair to the film and make it worth seeing for those alone. The inverted shot of Weronika diving into a swimming pool looks absolutely stunning.
The editing also proves to be incredibly well done, almost making it feel like a narrative feature rather than a documentary. During one scene Weronika misses a big performance due to an injury and the film cuts back and forth between the premiere of the show and her getting surgery on her knee. This was very well done and marked one of the most powerful scenes in the film.
Unfortunately, even after watching a film that spent five years with Weronika I don’t feel like we really get to know who she is. I was often confused about the passage of time and where she was at in her career. At one point she makes the comment that she was forced to take up ballet, which is something I wanted them to explore in more detail. There are plenty of documentaries about ballet and how grueling it is, so I was hoping for more of a personal journey with this film. Clearly, that’s what the film makers are trying to achieve, however it seems they spent more time showing us amazing imagery rather than who Weronika really is.
For fans of ballet, or those considering pursuing it as a profession, watching this film is a must. It may be light on content, but it makes up for it in the striking visuals. Weronika is an endearing and extremely talented young woman who makes it easy for us to be rooting for her and wanting to only see her succeed.
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