Tricks ★★★★★

Seven-year-old Stefek lives in a small Polish town with his mother and his elder sister Elka. After running into a man whom he takes to be his father - who has left the family years ago - Stefek attempts to trick fate into bringing his parents back together.

So much for the plot, which is really not the important part of this wonderful little movie. Tricks is about many things: Life, summer, women, ambition, and most of all: Childhood. All those daily routines and idiosyncratic ideas that children develop and that most adults fail to comprehend, all the silly games and pastimes people play when there is nothing else to do - Tricks takes them seriously and depicts them with admirable earnestness.

It indulges in following Stefek going about his daily routines - hanging out at the station, wandering the tracks, going on motorcycle rides with Elka and her boyfriend, playing with toy soldiers... The movie's depiction of naive idleness and the peace therein is its strongest quality. These are people who know how to spend a warm summer's day on their own.

When the supposed father misses his train and gets stuck in town, he goes down to the river for a swim - what else are you going to do? Elka's boyfriend spends his days cruising around town with his mulleted homeboy, making up elaborate car metaphors about women. Everyone is following Stefek's example and putting their ambition on hold for a couple of sun-flooded days.

There is little drama in Tricks, but that is entirely forgiveable: This is a film about taking your time, and about letting things fall into place. The protagonists know that a conscious effort will be needed at one point in order to make a change - as exemplified by Elka's repeated attempts at getting a job interview. But then again, it is summer, and as long as that's true, life is just comfortable enough.