The night before the dramatic events, the girls sat around the bonfire discussing the legend of “Wanda who did not want a German”. They boarded two boats, each overloaded. Allegedly, local fishermen had been warning them. They wanted to see the sea very much, though. Witness accounts remain fragmented and inconsistent. The order of events can only be recreated roughly. Using the historical narrative, we reshape its plot. We follow 5 girls from the moment of departure from their homes until the moment of tragedy. The essay pictures the days preceding the trip: girls elect their own Wanda (the scout team is named after the legendary virgin). The chosen one is to become the leader for that day – she holds the power. Yet, at night, we learn the dark side of it: taking up the role of Wanda means being slandered and drowned. We explore the girls’ relation with two worlds: internal (relations among themselves) and the outside world. We look at the sphere of submission: scout uniforms vs. colorful dresses, slips and loose hair – slipping out of the masculine world order: militarisation, discipline, hierarchy, and war. Negligence on the side of adults or unconscious suicidal desires? The story unfolds on the edge between dreams and reality, historical facts and legends about Wanda as a figure of overcoming the triad: death-life-death. The girls’ world is tormented by mystery. Each of them is, in their own way, a “Wanda” who was forced to take her own life or was made, by some other forces, to withdraw from life – from libidinal reality – elan vital, one’s own sexuality. It is Wanda who is the mirror of their impression of femininity. The action of the movie has two timelines: 1948 and today. The girls’ age and looks do not change. The change of time, but not of the space, serves to show how important and unceasingly relevant for women are the issues at stake.
Anna Baumgart – She is one of the most acclaimed Polish contemporary multimedia artist involved in directing, sculpture, installation, performance, video, photography and artistic tattooing. Her work is categorised as critical art and feminist art. She explores themes related to cultural patterns of behaviour, social stereotypes and the problems of contemporary women. She moves fluidly between essay, documentary, reportage and music video conventions. Baumgart’s works can be found in collections, musea, and art galleries all around the world.