The Peasants Movie Review

This is a modification of Władysław Reymont’s Nobel Prize-winning novel of the same name. The film was, obviously, produced using the same painted animation technique used in DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman’s beautiful film, “Loving Vincent.” ​

They used classically trained painters over those used more often because they wanted to avoid artists with “personalized styles” that have already been seen in other works. The filmmakers hired “pure oil painters” instead, which made a difference.

To fully appreciate the movie, you must know how this is done. After learning the methods utilized, you need to see how they are all put together. It’s a requirement!!


“The Peasants,” the painting animation, took the production years, as did “Loving Vincent.” The film is shot with actors, and then over a hundred painters in several countries painted oil paintings based on the shots so they could become the frames used in the film. Animators put it all together, making the process look smooth. They spent over 200,000 hours working on the project in total. I will admit to this not being as well made as “Loving Vincent.” Still, I appreciate the effort to give me something so unexpected and tragic.


The story is quite brutal if that’s what you consider gossip that ruins a person’s life, that is. Jagustynka (Dorota Stalinska) is the worst of the lot. This character should know better, but it’s fun for her to hurt people.

Just out of childhood, beautiful, blonde, innocent, and unaware of her beauty, Jagna (Kamila Urzędowska) brings envy and evil out in some. She loves butterflies, cranes, and other animals. In a small village in 19th century Poland, if everyone wants you, word spreads that you’ve had them. This is where her naïveté shows.


Antek Boryna (Robert Gulaczyk) and his father, Maciej Boryna (Mirosław Baka), are people she and her mother know. Jagna has a male friend, Mateusz, but has fallen in love with Antek, a married man with children. She knows this about him, so why is she lying in the grass with him, talking about clouds and what she wants from life when she knows he already has one? Mateusz seems like an excellent fit… too bad he’s going to be a priest.


Antek is crazy about her, but his widower father is looking for a new wife and Jagna is just the right age. Her mother wants her to marry rich, and naïve Jagna says she isn’t interested in “Rocking someone else’s cradle.” She’s happy with her station in life. Maciej is friends with the mayor and Jagna has no say in the situation. She has to marry him, and her new sister-in-law despises her because her father has given his new mother-in-law six acres of their best land, and she hates the idea that, eventually, Jagna will get their mother’s jewelry. Despite how everyone feels, the wedding is planned.


Some of the writing is startling, such as the women in town comparing men to pigs, who only want women for their dowry. No matter how young the girls are a man is “ready to thrust his snout in a fresh trough.” You feel sorry for the young Janga having to hear these things and end up so miserable. Still, she got into a relationship with a married man, eyes wide open. The situation may not have gone how she wanted, so she learns early that life brings pain as much as joy. She is beaten and even raped, which brings the film down as low as it could go.

In the end, you want the young woman to get a man she loves, but then you’re reminded that this “child” needs the help of an adult and that adult isn’t her mother. She’s abused constantly and needs to just get away. You will desperately want that for her.


The movie is stunning visually, except for a few faults where you could see skin peeking through the frames. These moments take you out of the story, but only briefly. The music and dancing will bring you back. You can’t help but be thankful for artists who put in the time to create something unique for your weekend viewing.


*Watch the end credits for something special.


The Peasants


Original title: Chlopi


Directors: DK Welchman, Hugh Welchman
Writers: DK Welchman, Hugh Welchman
Starring: Kamila Urzędowska, Robert Gulaczyk, Mirosław Baka


Rating: R (Full Nudity|Violence Including Rape|Sexuality)
Runtime: 1h 54m
Genre: History, Drama, Animation
Original Language: Polish


Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics


Rating contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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