Janusz Majewski is one of Poland’s most durable and prolific filmmakers. In a career that spans half a century Majewski has directed a variety of films, with comedies and period pieces predominating. He also made LOKIS, one of Poland’s most famous horror features, and a wealth of horror-themed shorts that comprise a significant body of work in their own right. In fact, I’d argue that Majewski can be counted as the foremost director of Polish horror movies (his only real competition in this regard are his fellow countrymen Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski and Andrzej Zulawski, all of whom have made the majority of their films outside Poland).
It was back to black and white for the 26 minute MARKHEIM (1971), one of Majewski’s most effective shorts. Based on an 1884 story by Robert Louis Stevenson, it pivots on a strong performance by Jerzy Kamas,
playing a heel named Markheim who impulsively kills an elderly antique dealer during an attempted robbery. From there Markheim’s sense of reality steadily dissolves in a morass of guilt and shame, until a spectral dog leads him to a shadowy figure who seems to know an awful lot about Markheim and his problems–a fact that, once the figure’s identity is finally revealed, makes a lot of sense.
159MB | 25mn 32s | 628×472 | mkv