An autumn park. An old man reading a newspaper is walking down the alley. Suddenly something falls on his head. He looks up. On the branches of a huge tree he can see a bunch of blue birds with long beaks. They seem to be very content, especially one of them. The angry man throws away the newspaper, runs into a building and quickly takes the stairs up to his flat on the floor. He goes into the bathroom, looks into the mirror, and to the amazement of his family, using a ladder, climes onto the tree through the window. At the sight of him the frightened birds quickly fly away, apart from one. The man takes off his pants, crouches… and takes revenge.
Alexander Sroczyński is an unconventional, anxious artist, gifted with an extraordinary imagination and sense of humour. He always carried a thick index with him, in which he wrote down all of his ideas in alphabetical order. When the director of the Animated Film Studio called him into his office when he was planning a production or when the execution of a plan, and therefore bonuses for the staff were in danger (the artist made films in Poland when the socialist planned economy was in force; since 1989 he lives and works in New York), and asked what film he would make, Sroczyński always answered with a question: “What topic would you like me to do?”. The director would say: “Maybe about dogs”. Then Sroczyński would open his index on page D, where under the entry “dogs” he would have several dozen ideas written done… The idea for “Vice Versa” was on the same page as “monkey business”. Sroczyński liked short forms. He started with them in the Animated Film Studio in Bielsko-Biała where he ended up after finishing his studies at the Academy of Arts in Cracow. Before his debut “One Can Hear More Than the Grass Grow” (1981), he worked on other directors’ films: Ryszard Lepióra – “Hotel” (1981), “The Through” (1981) as the author of the artistic layout and with Bronisław Zeman “8 i ¾” (1981) as the author of the artistic layout and a co-scriptwriter. In these short films, in their content, form, and visual arts, one can clearly see the type of cinema that Sroczyński later consequently made. „Vice Versa”, along with „7.30 p.m.” (1982), „Fishing” (1982) and „No more war!” (1987) belong to a group of short, humorous films ending with a surprising punch line. The most important of Sroczyński’s output are, however, long films, which are a pastiche of horror and science fiction, but served in an original poetics. Due to the characteristic drawings and type of humour, they are immediately recognizable. The combination of amusement with intelligence, fantasy and imagination, ennoblement of jokes, film gags, pure nonsense, a passionate love of cinema and the belief in its immeasurable possibilities – these are the basic qualities of his work. For the set of films: “7.30 p.m.”, “Fishing”, “Vice Versa”, “No more war!” he received the Grand Prix Golden Deer at the One-Minute-Long Film Festival Mini-Max ‘88 in Sosnowiec. It’s worth to note that “7.30 p.m.” has a run time of 1’50’’, “Fishing” – 1’39’’, “Vice Versa” – 2’19’’, and “No more war!” – 2’12’’. Jerzy Armata