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Poland, 1967 (MIFF 1971, Jerzy Skolimowski Retrospective)

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

In The Departure, Jerzy Skolimowski made his first film outside Poland. It was shot in Brussels with a French-speaking cast, and this time, the subtle, moody personality of Jean-Pierre Leaud embodies that sort of youthful anarchy and erratic whimsy which is indigenous to the director's world. He portrays a young beautician who is so taunted by sexual uncertainty and a longing for excitement that he develops a unique neurosis: he falls in love with cars. He enters for a race meeting, giving his car as a Porsche, which he intends to "borrow" from his boss. His prospects of competing appear hopeless as the meeting approaches. His desperation leads to many adventures. Fortunately the young man has an attractive girl friend who is willing to sympathise with his traumatic infatuation.

The adventures of the hero are described with wild camera angles and a musical score which emphasises the frantic maladjustments of today's youth, especially those who fill their life with dreams. There is an unforgettable set-piece, in cinema-verite style, in which a glittering automobile show becomes an ultimate refuge from reality. Our hero's girl friend holds the clue to the solution of his problems, and the film ends by bringing his prolonged adolescence to an awestruck standstill.

Golden Bear for Best Film, Award of the International Critics' Union, Berlin

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