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THE BALANCE

Poland, 1974 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Krzysztof Zanussi

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 with it all. Her husband, a scientist, is faithful and dull; she begins to ponder whether her life could not offer more responsibility, excitement, even love. There is an embezzlement in the office, and she stands up to the management in defending a colleague; she starts an affair with a young gym instructor and goes on a skiing tour with people in the office. In a poignant scene, Marta (Maja Komorowska) follows her lover to a summer resort, where she fails to contact him, and she gets drunk in a restaurant. By now, she is aware that her lover takes their relationship less seriously than she does and she begins to reconsider her headlong flight into sexual liberation.

With The Balance, Zanussi continues his exploration of moral issues begun in earlier films: The Structure of Crystals, Family Life and Illumination. Each of these films is presented in a quite different style. In The Balance, the camera sees the world through the eyes of Marta, and the film's meaning springs from her perceptions, needs and uncertainties.

'Zanussi's sober, unaffected style, his method of cutting just before the full impact of a scene has been absorbed, leaving it to tease and reverberate within the imagination, makes his films not only lucid, but subversive of most of our contemporary preconceptions.'

Film Comment

'In a year when marriage, divorce and moral responsibility seems to be at the top of every independent director's list, Zanussi's entry is by far one of the better ones. It deals with everyday problems anyone can identify with.'

Holl, Variety

See also...

FAMILY LIFE

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 »

THE CONTRACT

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 »

ILLUMINATION

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 »

NIGHT PATHS

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 »

THE YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN

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 ... More »

NO PLACE FOR EVE TO SLEEP

A striking illustration of Poland's new place in the top bracket of world cinema, No Place for Eve to Sleep is a nice blend of poetry and parody. ... The film opens with Eve arriving at her boarding ... More »

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