King Size comes with extra-large weirdness

I’m stunned. How did the makers of King Size ( Kingsajz ) (1988) fit so much weirdness into one movie? The answer dear reader is simple: They shrunk everything down.

Hidden in a basement in 1980s-era Poland there lives an all-male society of tiny people who desperately want to achieve normal human size. The subtitles call these little guys “dwarfs” but considering they’re small enough to fit in a matchbox you can put any images of Middle Earth’s bearded warriors aside. They wear funny hats scavenge pastries from the trash and live under an oppressive regime that’s intended to criticize Cold War-era communism.

No this is not a cartoon nor is it intended for children. (We see our first naked lady only four minutes into the movie.) This is an honest-to-God live action comedic fantasy political parable. Roughly half of King Size involves actors scrambling to interact with gigantic props representing everyday items like pencils and telephone cords while trying to escape from an Orwellian dystopia. It is ambitious silly and thoroughly inexplicable. The fact that this film exists at all delights me.

There is a potion that can expand dwarfs to human size but it is strictly regulated by the corrupt government which keeps it for itself. Everybody else is stuck labouring away at their various miniature tasks. For example it takes several dwarfs dangling on ropes just to operate a normal-sized typewriter.

Privileged government operatives get to visit the human world (dubbed “Kingsize”) and some of them elect to “defect” by staying big and refusing to return to their tiny homeland which is inside the card catalogue of a vast library. Many of the inhabitants of Szuflandia (“Drawerland”) believe that the secret growth formula should be available to all and risk their lives conspiring against their oppressors to reverse-engineer the stuff.

The political undertones might be serious but the presentation is anything but. Words cannot describe just how bonkers this movie is. Some of the things you’ll see include:

• dwarfs relaxing in a teapot sauna;

• a thrilling chase over a rickety bridge made of matchsticks;

• a political dissident restrained with Scotch tape and later interrogated by being strapped to a record player and left to spin;

• a prison that’s just an upside-down colander;

• comedy thugs who get their heads stuck in doors and air vents during fights;

• a pitched battle in a bathroom with tiny combatants scaling up the sink and the toilet paper; and

• (most memorably) a tiny man happily walking atop a naked woman bouncing up and down on her bum like it’s a trampoline.

Just about all of these effects are done with outsized props save for the latter since no facsimile could replace actress Katarzyna Figura’s scrumptious curves. The props aren’t necessarily convincing but are certainly good enough to impress lending an air of silliness to the entire endeavour without totally damaging the suspension of disbelief. You never get a chance to get bored because some new and ridiculous detail of this bizarre world is always just around the corner.

I stumbled across King Size by chance and it took me by complete surprise. Now I have to start watching more Polish movies on the off-chance that I’ll find one as insane as this. Director Juliusz Machulski also made something called Sexmission (1984) about two guys who get frozen and wake up in an all-female future society. Sounds promising to me.