Cold War Review – Love, life and music in post-war Europe

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Cold War film poster

A politically charged Polish love story directed by Pawel Pawlikowsi unfolding in the monochromatic shadows of the the soviet union.

As I sat down in one of the comfy red chairs at Filmhouse cinema, I was unaware of the impact the film I was about to watch would have on me. Seated on the second row from the screen, I was physically close to what was happening in front of me – but I also began to feel attached on an emotional level.

Poland, 1949. Dancers and musicians are auditioning for the Mazurek ensemble to put on shows of traditional polish music and dance. One of them being the young Zula (Joanna Kulig). With great confidence, she enters the audition room together with another woman, performing a duet in front of Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Irena (Agata Kulesza). Wiktor is enraptured by Zula’s charismatic performance. Soon she begins to bloom and perform alongside him, her jazz tunes warm and lively in contrast to the Cold War setting.

The character that Joanna Kulig so brilliantly plays is confident and colourful, even though the film is shot in black and white. Her chemistry with the male lead Wiktor, is easy to notice. It starts as a subtle connection when they first meet, and then continues to grow throughout the film, as they are separated by the power of the Cold War and then reunited by their hearts’ desires.

As the film is set in several locations– Poland, Paris, Yugoslavia and Berlin – and offers a wide range of scenery, it never gets boring. Despite its melancholic theme and time period, there is a lot of humour woven delicately throughout.  So much so that it always seems to somehow stay there in the background – almost fighting back against the dark of the world the couple lives in.

This beautifully created film, directed by the talented Pawel Pawlikowski, really moved me. It also made me laugh at loud numerous times. I would be very happy to watch it again. And perhaps again after that. And perhaps once more.

By Linnea Lind

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