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SKINNY AND THE OTHERS

Poland, 1966 (MIFF 1968, Programme A)

Director: Henryk Kluba

A few years back, Poland led the Eastern European countries in forthright themes in films, but has, of late, mainly concentrated on large scale epics. This film marks a return to smaller themes, concentrating on a group of itinerant workers who are outspoken about the omnipresent Party.

Set in the most remote south-east corner of Poland, the film's heroes are a group of workers building a bridge. They have the common virtues and vices; they are lough, and their tongues have been coarsened by their primitive everyday existence. None is perfect, not even the party member, whose appearance strikes a jarring note in this strange community.

This is fundamentally an adventure story. In its telling, however, the director does not obscure the truth: individuals are revealed as oppor­tunists. Brawls and drinking bouts, infringements of the law and contempt for human life are inherent features of the life of these people. Director Kluba was assistant to Skolimowski's Walkover. This film, his first feature, has been enhanced by the austere beauty of the photography.

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