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WALKOVER

Poland, 1965 (MIFF 1966, Programme C)

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Walkover, the original Polish title of this film, is an English expression meaning "an easy victory". Though an entity in itself, in a sense this film is a continuation of Skolimowski's earlier film, Identification Marks: None. Ten years have passed since Andre enlisted in the army and he is still the cynical outsider in a very committed society. About to turn thirty, he has made a sort of living by travelling around the country and participating in boxing matches for 'beginners'. All goes well until one night he decides to skip town to avoid meeting a much tougher opponent in the finals. The end of the film succeeds in being at once surprising, logical and ambiguous.

Although the film is made up of only thirty-four shots, the effect is excitingly disjointed and syncopated. Skolimowski's method seems to be quite paradoxical, not to say dialectical. From time to time the action stops while the hero confronts the camera in what can only be termed a soliloquy, and yet the author manages to present his story with desperate objectivity. This is all the more remarkable in that Skolimowski not only wrote and directed the film, but also boxed in it. Melbourne audiences know him as the co-scripter of Innocent Sorcerers and Knife in the Water.

Grand Prix, Arnheim Festival; Diploma, Montreal Festival.

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