Jerzy Skolimowski – Rysopis AKA Identification Marks: None (1965)

Jerzy Skolimowski’s debut is a combination of short student films made over the 4 years he spent at the Film School in Łódź. Identification Marks: None is the first instalment in the story about Andrzej Leszczyc, played by the director himself.

Early in the morning in Poland in the time of Gomułka, the communist party leader, Andrzej Leszczyc leaves sleeping Teresa to appear before the draft board. Much to the board’s surprise, he demands immediate enlistment on the grounds that he has just given up ichthyological studies and intends to start an adult life. As he has a few hours left before departure for military service, he returns home, does some shopping and takes the family’s sick dog to the clinic and has him put down. He borrows money from a friend he meets by chance. He meets Barbara on the tram, she immediately seems to him the girl of his life, he goes home to get his suitcases and runs to the station. He looks through the train window and sees Barbara wave him goodbye.

The absurdity of the central character’s behaviour turns out to be a well-thought principle on which the plot is built. Central to this is the anti-hero defined not by the consequences of his actions, but by the results of the lack – or avoidance – of them. The game Leszczyc plays with the world involves a consistent rejection of all forms of stabilization and a preference for uncertainty, provocation and an open perspective. At the other extreme, this game co-builds fiction – a chain of lies and sham joining clerks and customers, crooks and their victims, lovers, neighbours, families… The world of ‘Rysopis’ has no live, communication-oriented speech – instead there are repetitions, quotations and clichés, their most prominent feature being the focus on multiple use and impersonal judgment. Characteristically, the rare moments when Leszczyc tells the truth (e.g. the conversation with the draft board) and uses straightforward, rational arguments to express his thinking, make him an instant suspect (Mariola Jankun-Dopartowa, Kwartalnik Filmowy 1997).

Skolimowski’s characters are not yet defined by their social existence or choice of a living, ideals or fetishes to serve. On the contrary, they consciously – if not ostentatiously – shirk away from choosing, defining and undersigning their future, perhaps for fear of the definitive choice or for the authenticity of what they would undersign. The central character of ‘Rysopis’ is a ‘man living out of a suitcase’, in a state of transition and temporariness, always travelling or preparing for travel. And while he eagerly maintains this state, he does not look a man who feels good about it. He is an inveterate outsider by choice, yet not particularly enamoured with his shifty situation… Andrzej Leszczyc evades responsibility for things and people, he wants to break the ties – and does that. Is it due to some internal defect which could be termed total irresponsibility, lack of social and moral backbone? Or is it the other way round: his sense of responsibility is too strong for him to sign the social contract until he has fully and really dealt with his own problems? (Andrzej Werner, Historia filmu polskiego / A History of the Polish Ciemna, Volume V, Warsaw 1985)

1.09GB | 1h 13m | 768×432 | mkv


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One comment

  1. Many thanks!


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