Krystoff Kieslowski is today best known for his last four films, made wholly or partly in France, which in some ways is a shame, as while these movies are not without merit, they are outshone by the massive brilliance of his earlier, Polish work. Kieslowski was, of course, the greatest visual poet of communist architecture; and there's also something magical about the way he communicates the most intense emotion behind the facade of Slavic stoicism (witness, for example, in this film, the scene where the car is taken by the police). And also there was the subtext of the political beneath the personal, never more apparent than in 'No End', set (and, courageously, made) in the aftermath of the impact of the Solidarity movement on Polish society. In the face of civil unrest, the government had declared martial law, hoping to stave off a "friendly" Russian invasion; but system had lost confidence in itself, and had already effectively negotiated its own demise by the time the collapse of the Berlin wall finally cast it into oblivion. It's in this intermediate period, where normality intermingled with fear, that 'No End' unfolds, a drama that combines moral complexity and human sympathy in equal measure.
The first words of dialgoue in this film are "I died". Billy Wilder had planned to start 'Sunset Boulevard' in a similar manner, but the suits didn't like it and that film makes less sense as a result of the changes they demanded. More recently, films like 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' and 'The Sixth Sense' have repeated one idea explored in 'No End', that of the ongoing relationship between the living and the dead. But whereas both of those films are weighted down by obvious sentimentality, the opening speech in 'No End' is simple, disturbing, painfully real and yet leads naturally into something far more than a ghost story, a tale in which there is no right and wrong, but in which the mixed motives of the characters only illuminate their humanity.
Kieslowski is famous for his collaboration with Zbigniew Priesner, who wrote wonderful scores for this film (and all it's successors); but watching it, one is also struck by how well he used silence. He also had a talent for finding the most wonderfully expressive faces: the lawyer (Aleksander Bardini), the wife (Grazyna Szapolowska) and the client (Artus Barcis) all went on to appear in his 'Dekalog'. It's impossible to imagine a better actor than Bardini for his role; while Szapolowska appears more beautiful than any Hollywood starlet precisely because of the complete lack of glamour with which she is shot; her portrayal of a woman holding things together in the face of an unconquerable grief is wonderful and immensely sad.
There are so many moments of brilliance in this film, almost of all them unflaunted; the moment where the woman's son interrupts her phone call; the tiny flinch induced when a door closes behind her, the way that light floods a previously darkened room; the speech of introduction uttered by the lawyer; Kieslowski constantly finds the subtlest of ways to shed light on his subjects. This is a ten star film, made by a master, grounded in its era but which speaks of so much more. Now released on DVD, it has to be seen.
Drama / Romance
Drama / Romance
It's 1982: Poland is under martial law, and Solidarity is banned. Ulla, a translator working on Orwell, suddenly loses her husband, Antek, an attorney. She is possessed by her grief, and Antek continues to appear to her. She seeks to free herself in her work, in her relationship with her son, in sex, and in hypnosis. In a subplot, Ulla refers the wife of one of her husband's clients - Darek, a jailed Solidarity strike organizer - to Labrador, a world-weary, aging attorney, who works to free Darek by various political manipulations and psychological ploys.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 01, 2021 at 03:19 AM