It used to be a wondrous city of factories and revolutions. But now the city is fading away. The opening text in Diagnosis might seem to be introducing a portrait of an abandoned metropolis, but the Polish filmmaker Ewa Podgórska goes on to draw a much wider picture.
As the camera slowly glides backwards along a deserted street, we hear the voice of a therapist addressing his patient’s subconscious, and ours as well. “If the city were an animal, what would it be?” Lying on their backs and staring at the ceiling, a variety of people give their intuitive answers. And then the questions become more and more personal. Who would make the best parents for the city? And what sort of child would it be? The associative questions are a means to bring the deepest memories and emotions to the surface. They’re underscored by fragments of daily life in the city and disorienting images from a camera that sometimes drifts miles in the air. It’s an intoxicating film style, in which the human psyche merges with images of a nameless city, with equal measures of passion, disillusionment, and hope.