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Poland / USA / West Germany, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Krzysztof Zanussi

A film of gentle emotions and autumnal colours, set during the post World War II reconstruction of Poland. Two women, mother and daughter, leave from the east and arrive in the home town they have been severed from by the tides of war. Slowly, in an atmosphere of general disillusion, insecurity, and the shadow of freshly lived tragedies, the little community begins to assume a new life.

The woman and her invalid mother are living in a dark old tenement building, amid the rums and rubble - the physical scars of war. New hope enters her life when she meets and falls in love with an American army officer, part of a team undertaking an investigation of a nearby PoW camp. Not speaking each other's languages, they quickly learn to communicate through gestures, facial expressions, laughter and a few isolated words.

From this affair springs the hope of a new life in America, represented by an image of Monument Valley, remembered by mother and daughter from a film they had seen before the war. But there are obstacles to this realization of hope: exorbitant sums are demanded to take them out of the country, years of accumulated guilt have left the daughter feeling undeserving, the mother's age and her physical condition is a burden. . .

This is a simple story of simple people who find themselves trapped in a harsh, uncaring world. Yet, while Zanussi may seem to have abandoned his usual rigorous analysis of social and political conditions, there is an overall atmosphere and attention to detail which suggest a possible allegoric intent.

See also...


Illumination won the grand prize at the Locarno festival last year, and its director. Krzysztof Zanussi, is considered by many critics to be the most original film maker working in Polish cinema. He ... More »


In the midst of the Second World War in occupied Poland, Friedrich, a young German officer of aristocratic background, meets his older cousin, Hans Albert. Both are part of the same regiment ... More »


A young man returns to his family home to discover that the life he left behind is still very much a pan of him, and not so easy to escape from. ... Wit, an engineer, the son of a once rich ... More »


Krzysztof Zanussi's film explores an area of contemporary family and sexual life that has been opened up by Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage. Marta is forty, married with a son, and quietly unhappy ... More »


Zanussi's latest film is a departure for him in two ways. Firstly, it is a comedy, a lighter and more sprightly film that the intense dramas of conscience for which he is best known (Camouflage ... More »

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