LOVE HAS NO BORDERS.
Pawel Pawlikowski had his international breakthrough with Ida (2013) and this one was equally lauded, and similar visually. We follow two Polish lovers over many years, from the beginning of a postwar existence until a fateful final encounter after the end of the Stalinist era. Their folk music troupe is manipulated by the Communist regime, but they also get to taste Western liberty during a few years in Paris (which is not necessarily the answer to their problems). A very turbulent love affair, well acted (especially by Joanna Kulig) and strikingly shot… even if the propaganda numbers would have had an immense impact in color.
2018-Poland-France-Britain. 89 min. B/W. Produced by Ewa Puszczynska, Tanya Seghatchian. Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. Screenplay: Pawel Pawlikowski, Janusz Glowacki, Piotr Borkowski. Cinematography: Lukasz Zal. Editing: Jaroslaw Kaminski. Cast: Joanna Kulig (Zuzanna ”Zula” Lichon), Tomasz Kot (Wiktor Warski), Borys Szyc (Lech Kaczmarek), Agata Kulesza, Jeanne Balibar, Cédric Kahn.
Trivia: Original title: Zimna wojna.
Cannes: Best Director. European Film Awards: Best Film, Director, Actress (Kulig), Screenwriter, Editor.
Last word: “In Stalinist Poland it was really manifest and dangerous, and in French salons it’s oppressive in a different way. […] People say to me that I would make a lot of money if I made films in English with English-speaking stars, and I think, ‘Do I succumb to that kind of pressure or do I stick to black-and-white Polish films?’ Of course, if you’re an exile, you don’t have an alternative. Then you go with whatever works locally.” (Pawlikowski on the different challenges facing Zula and Wiktor in Poland and France, Slant Magazine)