Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lose to Win (orig. Nad Życie) [2012]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing listing*

Lose to Win (orig. Nad Życie) [IMDb] []*(2012) directed by Anna Plutecka-Mesjasz [IMDb][]* written by Patrycja Nowak [IMDb] []* and Michał Zasowski [IMDb] []* is a truly remarkable/compelling _pro-Life_ biopic (subtitled) about the life and death in 2008 of Polish volleyball star Agata Mróz-Olszewska [PL-orig] [Eng-Trans] that played recently at the the 24th Polish Film Festival in America/Chicago (Nov 2-16, 2012).

Agata Mróz [PL-orig] [Eng-Trans] (played in the film by Olga Bołądź [IMDb] []*) had played on the Polish national women's volleyball team which won the European championships in 2003 and 2004.  She also played professionally (not shown in the film) in both Poland (from 2004-2006) and in Spain (2007) participating on championship teams in both countries.  In 2007, she was forced to quit volleyball due to illness (leukemia).  Shortly afterward, she married her sweetheart Jacek Olszewski (played in the film by Michał Żebrowski [IMDb] []*) back in Poland.  Six months later, while awaiting a donor match for a bone-marrow transplant, the couple announced that they were pregnant.  Here Agata decided to suspend treatment for her leukemia (including the search for a bone marrow transplant) while she sought to bring her child term.  The child, Liliana, was born healthy if prematurely 4 months later.  Immediately afterwards, Agata underwent the requisite chemotheraphy and died a few months later of an infection, despite being in prescribed isolation, while her immune system was recovering from the chemotherapy.

The question that Agata faced when she first found out that she was pregnant was, of course, whether or not to have an abortion.  She was gravely ill, most of the medical team treating her cancer counseled against her suspending treatment to try to bring the child to term.  (And even from the perspective of Catholic teaching, most moralists would take the position that she would have the right to pursue treatment for her cancer even if this would result in the death of the unborn child).

Postponing treatment did put her in significantly greater risk of dieing of leukemia before the child was born.  She died after having given birth to her (healthy if premature) child.  However, she didn't really die as a result of her pregnancy or of her postponing of her cancer treatment.  Instead, she died as a result of an infection that she would have been susceptible to _in any case_ as a result of cancer treatment.  That is, she could have aborted her child and then died of the cancer/infection caused by the treatment _anyway_.  Her legacy now is her child that she did bring to birth, and in their child, Jacek has some lasting remembrance of his/Agata's love.

Agata's case _does_ give us much to think about:  If one is staring at death anyway, why not take the chance of leaving something that would survive us after we're gone.  I do think that I understand why she made the brave choice (for the life of her child) that she did.

* At the time of the writing of this review, machine translation of the text on links given above appears to work best using the Chrome browser rather than Firefox or MS Explorer.

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