(2002, Pol, 98 min) Dir Jan Krzysztof Brodzki. Cast Michael Richards, Ava Brodzki, Piotr Kot.
One of the more unusual post-Seinfeld efforts from its cast, Poor Frankie finds Michael Richards’ New York bookmaker Frankie lost in rural Poland, waking up at a bus stop coated in snow with no idea how he got there. The night before he was at a boxing match in the city but got on the wrong bus while, in his own words, “I was outta my mind of that vodka they got here.” The rest of the film follows him as he tries to get himself back to Warsaw while speaking no Polish. There’s a whole lot of Richards’ patented slapstick here but the camera doesn’t follow or move with it, choosing instead to watch from a distance, and there’s no accentuation of the action with heightened sound or music so the effect is very odd and impassive, staying with a pratfall off an icy road until he’s climbed back out of the snow stuffed ditch, checked and corrected himself and then panning to follow him as he carries on his way up the road. It’s completely deadpan and it gets funnier and funnier as Richards gets angrier and angrier at the similarly unflappable locals throughout the film.