Inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and intended as “a homage to the great writer,” this film is set in modern France rather than 19th century Russia. This is a story of Léon (Francis Huster), who has been recently released from a mental asylum and claims to be a descendant of a Hungarian prince. On his way from Hungary to France, he meets Mickey (Tchéky Karyo), a hood who has committed a successful bank robbery and plans to take brutal revenge on the brothers Venin for what they did to his girlfriend Mary (Sophie Marceau). Léon can hardly understand what Mickey is up to but he follows him everywhere and soon falls in love with Mary. This odd love triangle resolves in a tragic ending. The frantic pace of the film’s action can be compared to that of a runaway, hell-bound train. The colors and sounds go out of control, and violence abounds — all of which is intended to convey to a viewer the craziness of the time.
— (allmovie) Continue reading
ANDRZEJ ZULAWSKI’S adaptation of Manuela Gretkowska’s provocative and hugely successful novel reaches new extremes in the depiction of brutality, sex, and passion as it tells the story of a young(ish) anthropologist driven by the mystery surrounding the death of a recently discovered shaman; and his growing obsession with an enigmatic yet violently perverse beauty known as “The Italian”.SZAMANKA (She-Shaman) is a film ‘without brakes’. Above all else, it is a ‘demonic’ film where characters are battlegrounds in the war between demons and angels, where angels are agents of God and demons are those of the Devil. This pulpy, sexually charged tale with its deranged erotic futurism underlines Zulawski’s commitment to stretch the limits of aesthetic expression by exploring themes beyond the pale in conventional cinema. Violence, exuberance and sexuality are its key ingredients. Through hysteria, possession and hallucination we see what the Polish writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski called ‘naked soul’. Continue reading
Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski is best known for his anguished monster flick Possession, which featured Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani as a married couple spiraling toward domestic meltdown. His films are aggressive shrieks of madness, doomed love, trance-state convulsions, and shrieking emotional upheavals. The octopus creature that materializes halfway through Possession, completing the film’s bizarre love triangle, transports a fairly naturalistic, if explosive, kitchen-sink drama into the realm of magical realism; Zulawski swore that his 1981 masterwork was partially autobiographical, coming as it did so soon after a vicious and harrowing divorce. Continue reading
By Carlo Chatrian, pardolive.ch
For his return to directing 15 years after La Fidélité, Andrzej Zulawski has chosen one of the most difficult authors to adapt and a text that poses significant challenges, given its constant verbal invention and narrative deviations. Cosmos, written 50 years ago by Witold Gombrowicz, four years before his death, is one of those works that creates a kind of precipitous vertigo.
Zulawski is clear from the start: it only takes a few minutes for the viewer to realize this is no classic adaption of a bourgeois novel. Instead, young Witold’s arrival at the house where he will stay is the entrance to an out-of-the-ordinary universe. A world where sparrows are hanged, where strange arrows take shape on the ceiling, where the television that’s always on for every meal broadcasts incessant images of war, where seduction and repulsion go hand in hand. The thin thread of an investigation – discovering who is responsible for these signs – becomes a metaphor for talking about language. See, for example, the brilliant tirade from the “paterfamilias”. Continue reading
P l o t S y n o p s i s
An unexperienced young actress is invited to play a role in a film based on Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Possessed’. The film director, a Czech immigrant in Paris, takes over her life, and in a short time she is unable to draw the line between acting and reality. She winds up playing a real-life role posing as the dead wife of another Czech immigrant, who is manipulated by the filmmaker into commiting a political assasination. (Review from Yuri German) Continue reading
“Andrzej Żuławski is one of the true mavericks of European cinema and his wild, imaginative and unique films have won awards at many international film festivals over the years. A nightmarish and surreal masterpiece, The Third Part of the Night is his highly influential debut feature film. Set during the time of the Nazi-occupation of Poland and rich with multilayered symbolism and apocalyptic imagery, it shows one of Europe’s most uncompromising and visionary directors at his best. Continue reading
A group of space researchers leaves earth to find freedom. Their spaceship crashes on the dark side of the moon. Shortly afterwards, all are dead save for the children and one adult. They create their own society, characterized by shamanism and the worship of fire. The last adult survivor is called the Old Man, who is both worshipped and loathed. The Old Man leaves the group of children for the mountains and sends his video diary in a rocket back to Earth. A space researcher named Marek (Andrzej Seweryn) receives the video diary and travels to the moon. When he arrives he is welcomed by the group of children as the messiah, seeing him as the reincarnation of the Old Man. Continue reading