This evening I will go to the new Art House cinema to see the Polish movie Cold War in Polish language with Dutch subtitles. I am very curious and won't write long now, because I have to prepare to go to this movie.
Cold War (Polish: Zimna wojna) is a 2018 historical period drama film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski. It competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Pawlikowski won the award for Best Director. It also received the Golden Lions Award at the 43rd Gdynia Film Festival.
The film, set during the Cold War in the 1950s, tells the story of a musical director (Tomasz Kot) who discovers a young singer (Joanna Kulig), and follows their subsequent love story over the years. The film is loosely inspired by the lives of Pawlikowski's parents.
Cold War received universal acclaim from critics. It was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
- Joanna Kulig as Zuzanna "Zula" Lichoń - Tomasz Kot as Wiktor Warski - Borys Szyc as Lech Kaczmarek - Agata Kulesza as Irena Bielecka - Jeanne Balibar as Juliette - Cédric Kahn as Michel - Adam Woronowicz as consul - Adam Ferency as minister - Adam Szyszkowski as camp guard
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 75 reviews, and an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With a brilliantly stark visual aesthetic to match its lean narrative, Cold War doesn't waste a moment of its brief running time — and doesn't skimp on its bittersweet emotional impact." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
I came back home with a feeling of recognition and the idea of having seen a good but somber and rather sad movie. The movie shows the impossible love of musical director Wiktor Warski (played by Tomasz Kot) and the young singer "Zula" Lichoń (played by Joanna Kulig) in communist Poland of the fifties, Eastern-Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris in France.
It shows the grey and dull Poland under Stalinism and general communism in the late forties, fifties and early sixties. It shows the Polish country life of that time, Folklore, the Lemko Folk culture in Łemkowszczyzna in the Lesser Poland and Subcarpathian Voivodeships (provinces).
It shows how the communist interference in cultural life destroyed independence, authenticity and the autonomy of composers, musicians and singers. The movie starts with Music teacher and director Irena Bielecka (Agata Kulesza) and her colleague musical director Wiktor Warski who record authentic Lemko peoples (Folk) music in the Polish country side and go to rural area's to judge local/regional voices for Polish conservatory education. The Party functionary for culture Lech Kaczmarek (played by Borys Szyc) disturbes their important work by getting involved in their project without having any knowledge or taste. He follows the direction of the PZPR party secretary for work precisely. The Party sectetary honours Bielecka's and Warski's work, saying it is honorable that you 2 show authentic peoples music.
But he also says "The proletarian cause has evolved in time and you have to include themes like world peace, the great leader of world socialism [comrade Stalin] and the economic succes of communism". Irena Bielecka opposes that idea by saying that the local Lemko's don't sing about such large topics, but about their daily and rural life.
The musical director Wiktor Warski and the young singer "Zula" Lichoń escape from East-Berlin to the West and move to Paris where they become succesful musicians, but their relationship endures a crisis and becomes tense. They get into an argument and "Zula" Lichoń leaves Paris to return to Poland. There she marries the simplistic, blunt and opportunistic communist apparatchik Lech Kaczmarek. Wiktor Warski becomes desperate and wants to go back to Poland to see the love of his life "Zula" Lichoń" again. At the Polish embassy in Paris he is humiliated. "Who are you"; says the communist embassy man? "You are not a Pole and not a Frenchman, I am a Pole, but you are not, because you are a traitor who left Poland." When Wiktor Warski is back in Poland he is send to a harsh communist Polish labour camp in a mining area.
"Zula" Lichoń is desperate and does everything to get Warski out of there. Even by marrying the party man Lech Kaczmarek to have some influence on the Party. I 1962 Wiktor Warski is free again, but his energy is gone, he is a ghost image of his old self. The camp life has ruined his health and hands, he can not work as a pianist again.
In the Final scenes "Zula" and Wiktor have found each other again. They take an over dose of sleeping pills in the ruins of an old church and act as if they marry each other sayig the vowels.