For 8 year-old Stefek, living with his mother and sister in a small Polish town and watching the behaviour of those around him, there's only one way of getting what you want in this world and that's through tricking people into doing what you want them to do. It was another woman who apparently tricked his father into leaving them, so when he sees a man at the train station who he is certain looks like his father, he sets about trying to find a way to trick him into coming back.
Andrej Jakimowski's second feature (Sztuczki) adopts a childlike view of the world in this respect, one that is observant of human nature and behaviour with the innocent belief that there's a key to figuring it all out if you know where to look - and with a little bit of luck on your side, you can turn it to your advantage. To mix a few metaphors, Stefek's approach is something like - you can lead a horse to water, but you can't teach an old dog new tricks, at least not until the pigeons come home to roost.
The wonder of the Tricks is that, by taking a couple if commonplace situations and looking at them in a new way, it almost convinces you that such an absurd way of looking at the world may not necessarily be all that far off the mark. The film may be made up of fairly commonplace situations, but linking everything together, it shows simply and beautifully how everyday life can have its wondrous little moments and, with a little bit of a nudge in the right direction, it may be possible to make it a better place or at least find some sense behind it all. Attractively shot, delightfully paced, charmingly performed and with a playful score, this is fresh, vibrant new cinema from Poland.
The film has a terrific-looking transfer on this UK DVD release, the clear enhanced widescreen image doing justice to the slightly tinted colouration. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 only. Subtitles are optional and the only extra feature is the film's trailer.