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“the first deconstructed art western.”
—The New York Times
Summer Love (2006), the first feature film by artist Piotr Uklanski, appropriates one of American popular cinema’s most classic genres—the Western—to create an allegorical movie. Uklanski shifts the Wild West frontier of America’s past to the present of post-Communist Eastern Europe. Shot in southern Poland with a mainly Polish cast (dialogue is in English), the film’s stock characters are instantly recognizable to viewers for whom the myth of the American West is ingrained by the Westerns of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Yet Uklanski’s film is “a copy of a copy,” referring to the European spaghetti Western as much as to the American ‘original.’ As Uklanski explains, it exploits cinema’s most codified genre to address issues of cultural authenticity. With its impressive cinematography and strong performances, including an appearance by Hollywood star Val Kilmer, Summer Love functions not only as a conceptual statement, but also as a genuine Western, adding to the grand tradition of the genre.