This film chronicles the educational journey of a group of shy, diligent women of different ages. They try to run cultural centres in their villages, even though they are confronted with financial problems and initial lack of interest from their local communities.
The opening shots of rural landscapes are followed by an interview sequence, communicating that the women find it difficult to narrate their passions for propagating artistic and intellectual ambitions among people in the countryside. They mention that their fellow villagers would rather see a disco, a pub or a wedding venue instead of a cultural centre.
The women’s perseverance and resistance to social pressure are something that they feel, rather than something they can logically articulate. All of them try to pursue their goals without any support from their communities. This triggers doubts among some of Kamieńska’s interviewees.
Their hesitation is best summarised by an off-screen question from the interviewer: ‘How come you are apprehensive to state what you are doing in the club?’ to which the women struggle to find an answer.
Later, Kamieńska depicts the same women attending weekend humanities and art classes at the People’s University (Uniwersytet Ludowy), an institution offering courses for adults.
Although they find it hard to manage their domestic responsibilities, their jobs and the school on the weekends, the film concludes with a much more optimistic tone than it started with.
Letters from the same students at the People’s University are read off-screen. We learn how weekend education proved the catalyst to building their self-confidence and helped compel them to fulfil their ambitions.
Kamieńska’s portrayal of women as servants to the collective is underpinned by her trust in their cause, as well as by her admiration for these selfless female figures.
So Much to Do seems to have been produced to lead by example and encourage the audience to believe not only in the eventual successes of the on-screen characters’ trial but also in the triumph of human willingness to persevere in the pursuit of the increased good of another.
The director highlights the overall need for systemically designed help that seems to be necessary if individual cultural initiatives are to bear any fruit. This is why So Much To Do has often been classified as an educational film rather than a documentary.