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DCA Archive

Cold War

Pawel Pawlikowski

Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida) returns to our screens with another piece of assured, sophisticated, beautiful filmmaking. Dedicated to his parents and inspired by their volatile romance, Cold War is also the story of Soviet-era Poland told through a very personal lens. With haunting folk music peppering the soundtrack, astonishing black and white visuals in Academy-ratio and two arresting central performances, ‘glorious’ seems too weak a description for this marvel of a film.

The film opens in 1946 as musician Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) travels through rural Poland with scholar Irena (Agata Kulesza) and which will immerse you entirely.” driver Kaczmarek (Borys Szyc) to capture localfolkmusic,dancesandsongs. What begins as an ethnographical project is soon turned into propaganda as their musical ensemble becomes a state tool to ‘inspire’ the cultural identity of the nation. But when he auditions the fiery Zula (Joanna Kulig), Wiktor knows immediately that he has found a raw and extraordinary talent. Drawn to each other, they embark on a passionate romance, but as Wiktor starts to feel his creativity stifled by the state, he declares they should defect to the West. Zula, who is enjoying success and fame, struggles more with the thought of leaving. On a musical tour to East Berlin, Wiktor seizes his chance and crosses over the border. Unable to live together and yet unable to live apart, the lovers will separate and reunite repeatedly over the next decade in Paris, Yugoslavia, Berlin and finally back to Poland.

Pawlikowski and the entire creative team including cinematographer Lukasz Za, production designers Katarzyna Sobanska and Marcel Slawinski, and music supervisor Marcin Masecki, have created a marvel of texture, image and sound which will immerse you entirely in this world. Cold War is a tender, frank and heartbreaking triumph.