Film crimes in the country of Wajda – Juventud Rebelde

Like almost all top-level cinematography, commercial and artistic, the Polish one offers notable generic and stylistic variety. From May 17 to 24, at the 23 y 12 cinema at five in the afternoon, and within the framework of the 13th. Polish Culture Week, every day a feature-length fiction film is programmed within the unique exhibition called Crime in Polish Cinema.

From this title it is inferred that the narrative of these films is woven around a crime committed by the characters, whether it be robbery, murder or another. And the curators of this exhibition chose the academically correct label: “crime cinema” instead of taking up other appeals, inaccurate but much more recognizable by the broader public as thrillerfilm noir, police, gangster… although there are certain doses of all of this in this exhibition.

To start at the beginning, I recommend the films in the order in which they are scheduled. Thus, on the 17th the exhibition began with a cult film in its country for more than 40 years: To go the whole hog (1981) by Juliusz Machulski, who is the Polish equivalent of our Juan Carlos Tabío, the king of comedy filmmakers in his country with very notable works seen in Cuba.

In a decade of very solemn, and even somber and pessimistic, Polish films, Machulski preferred to dedicate himself to making a comedy about thieves, set in Warsaw between the wars, and despite a certain dark side of the characters, giving them a subtle sense of humor, through a complicated but very well-crafted suspense.

In the lead role of To go the whole hog There is the director’s father, Jan Machulski, who was already a prestigious actor at the time his son made his film debut with this story of a man accused of a crime he did not commit, and his subsequent “redemption” or revenge. But the great challenge came from recreating, in the 1980s, the Warsaw of the 1930s, since it is already known that the capital was completely destroyed during the Nazi occupation.

They had to locate the luxuries and glamor of that bourgeoisie in the city of Łódż, while fans of old cars helped the production by lending theirs. The film finally made it to the screen, winning the award for best first film at the Gdynia National Film Festival, a sequel was made in 1984, and soon became a classic.

In The murderer and the lady (1963) by Janusz Nasfeter, a robbery of an armored car occurs, a guard and the driver of the vehicle die, but Malgorzata, a bank teller who was also traveling in the car, manages to survive and is the only witness who saw the man’s face. murderer… One of the main attractions of the film comes from the protagonism, always effective, disturbing, of Zbigniew Cybulski, one of the most famous national actors of all time, whom all critics with little imagination called, the Polish James Dean.

Fantasy and science fiction farce in End of the World (2023), by Piotr Dumała.

Having repeated the commonplace for the umpteenth time, let’s move on to celebrate his talent, and the supreme ability to give each role something personal and non-transferable that speaks about the person Cybulski was. Here he plays the investigator, the detective who investigates the bank’s armored car robbery.

To go the whole hog and The murderer and the lady They are the only two “old” films in the exhibition, but to this chronicler they seem the most attractive, especially due to the surprising versatility of their directors, Machulski and Nasfeter, both graduates of the Łódż Film School. The first made comedies like those already mentioned but also futuristic films (Sex Mission, King Size), crime, historical, while Nasfeter was one of the undisputed masters of Polish children’s cinema, and also made war and psychological dramas (wounded in the forest), even some very correct crime genre productions like this one that is being programmed now.

The high artistic standards of this cinematography are also present in “modern” productions: The author of The reverse (2009) is Borys Lankosz, who continues two important traditions of Polish cinema: the impressive talent of several graduates of the Łódż Film School, and the quality of the films that won the award for best Polish film at the Gdynia Festival. It is a story filmed mostly in black and white, which takes place in the 1950s and in the present, to tell, sometimes in a key of black humor, the story of three women, grandmother, mother and daughter, with this latest in desperate search for a husband.

The film begins as a historical drama, then it seems like a romantic comedy, and then the criminal twist appears, very Hitchcock-like, which I refrain from recounting to keep the party in peace with my readers. Very notable are the performances of the female trio: Anna Polony, the legendary Krystyna Janda, and Agata Buzek, in the respective roles of grandmother, mother and daughter.

A woman, in the role of a police officer, who investigates a complicated murder case, stars in the thriller police Lake Jeziorak (2014) written and directed by Michal Otlowski. The script intertwines the mysterious death of prostitutes in Ukraine with the loss of two police officers who are pursuing clandestine alcohol manufacturers, one of them is a co-worker of the protagonist and the other is the father of the twins she is carrying. belly.

Those who remember the excellent American film fargoby the Coen brothers, I warn you that the only point in common is the development of its police-protagonists, because this Polish film has a very different tone, it never ventures into satire, and prefers dark, violent action full of points of twist, like all good thriller police, that here both labels fit like a glove.

Thus we arrive at productions released last year and the year before. Baroque, disheveled and postmodern is the adventure comedy dangerous knights (2022) which is set in 1914, in the mountain resort of Zakopane, where artists, writers, scientists and politicians coincide around a corpse that suddenly appears, now a crime, all shown in a burlesque tone.

Because here the structure of crime cinema is assumed, with the corresponding investigation to find out who the author of the murder is, but the debut director and screenwriter Maciej Kawalski is rather interested in frivolizing and transvestiting the known story of real and iconic characters, and presenting an alternative past, half carnivalesque and grotesque, that can be enjoyed by viewers who are bored in conventional and serious history classes. Remarkable interpretations of two important writers, Joseph Conrad and Tadeusz Żeleński, are respectively verified by Andrzej Seweryn (marble man) and Tomasz Kot (Cold War).

It also bets on the bizarre combination of genres and styles, End of the world (2023) by Piotr Dumała, a fantasy and science fiction farce, which at times connects with melodrama, the west and even horror and crime films, to contemplatively reflect on the approaching end of civilization.

I did not want to stick to any synopsis because none does justice to this strange film, and attractive to many people, as it seems to connect, in its own way, with the transcendentalism inherent to the classics of Polish cinema, although its visual style largely pays tribute to pop culture and advertising. In short, a film to convince us that the cinematography that Andzrej Wajda and other greats encouraged from the 50s to the 90s (when there was a moment of impasse) continues to be at the forefront.

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