Warsaw, Poland – Since becoming available to Netflix subscribers in the UK and US earlier this month, the streaming platform’s latest and surprisingly popular Polish drama “365 days” (365 Dni in Polish) has drawn heavy criticism for “romanticizing a forced relationship” and “glamorizing Stockholm syndrome”.
While some are already calling for the sequel, others are campaigning to get the erotically-charged drama taken it off the streaming platform.
Directed by Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes, and based on the first novel of a trilogy written by Blanka Lipińska, the steamy drama follows a young Polish woman, played by Anna-Maria Sieklucka, who travels to Italy where she is captured by Massimo Torricelli, a member of the Sicilian mafia. The very dominant Sicilian man grants her 365 days to fall in love with him.
Or as Variety puts it: “A vacuous idiot is kidnapped by a hot, rich mafioso and given 365 days to fall in love in this objectionable, ludicrous softcore fantasy”. The magazine describes the movie as “a thoroughly terrible, politically objectionable, occasionally hilarious Polish humpathon”. Decider has called the movie “the closest thing to porn on Netflix”.
Already dubbed the “Polish 50 Shades of Gray”, “365 days”, which was originally released theatrically in Poland in February, has since taken Netflix by storm, quickly becoming the most viewed item on Netflix in the US, the UK and France, and making the top three in several more countries, including the Czech Republic and Germany, but also Saudi Arabia, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
The movie even inspired TikTok users to take to social media to share their experiences watching the film, which includes the now infamous four-minute montage of acrobatic carnal activities set on a yacht.
“We wanted the camera to be as much invisible as possible, to let them act, so indeed the takes were very, very long,” Cinematographer Bartek Cierlica told spoke with Variety. “We created the most intimate atmosphere we could for the actors. We wanted this sex to be pretty authentic. We wanted the viewer to hear their whispers, heavy breaths and we wanted to show the sweat, passion. Be natural, authentic, but not to cross the border of pornography”.
In the #MeToo era, the film’s surprising success has divided opinion, with many revolted internet users rebelling on Twitter against a film which they say romanticizes the kidnapping of a woman, male domination, and forced sex: “It is a film where there is rape, unwanted touching, psychological and physical violence”, “The film romanticizes violence”, “I have the impression that the film advocates rape culture”, ““You basically just watch shawty get Stockholm Syndrome”…
Earlier this week, Collectif Soeurcières, an French feminist collective started a petition addressed to Netflix France to remove the film from all availability, claiming that “a film that advocates the culture of rape has no place on our screens, nor in our society”.
Others seem to have fallen under the muscular charm of Michele Morrone, the hunky actor who plays Massimo. “I would gladly tie myself up with his shoelaces and let him kidnap me”, even tweeted a fan.
With more than 5 million monthly users last month, Netflix is Poland’s most popular video streaming platform. It’s popularity has been helped by the release of The Witcher series, based on the popular book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as the platform’s first Polish original series, 1983.