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Cold War

Polish, English subtitles: Wiktor is a musician who travels post-War Poland to assemble a touring group who will perform Polish folk songs throughout the country. He discovers Zula, a headstrong young woman with a beautiful voice. The movie, inspired by the director’s own parents, follows their love affair across multiple countries – Poland, Russia, France – in Cold-War Europe. The film is a masterpiece in every way. The cinematography is gorgeous; as in the director’s previous film Ida, every scene is by itself an exemplar of light and shadow and composition. The use of black and white helps bring a starkness to the social and political landscape as well as illuminate the beauty and romance of the relationship between Wiktor and Zula. I loved the variety of music – Polish folk, classical, and sultry lounge music is alternated throughout the film. The screenplay is taught – the movie runs just under 90 minutes, but it moves quickly; no scene is wasted, and there is no unnecessary dialog. The acting by the two is phenomenal. The chemistry is definitely there, and so much is communicated through the eyes and facial expressions. And the final scenes of the film – WOW! Big thumbs up for what has jumped to one of my top favorite movies of the year. This film won Best Director at Cannes in 2018. My assumption is that it will end up as one of the foreign language entries for the 2019 Academy Awards, and it will be a hard film to beat.

About Gary Burkholder

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