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THE SPIRAL

Poland, 1978 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Krysztof Zanussi

Tomasz arrives at a ski resort, locks his car, and throws the keys down a ravine. He tries to make contact With the guests, but his boorish behaviour, his strange hysterical, insulting manner repuises the people around him. He hides his identity behind invented names and stories, and conceals his successful past.

The other people staying at the resort, in contrast, tell Tomasz about their work, their feelings, their hopes for the future. A young man plans to travel to India to work to help others; a highly placed Party official relishes the material privileges that go with his job.

Tomasz rebuffs the attentions of a married couple who are concerned with his condition, and rejects an attractive widow who offers her love. Eventually, tired of their company, he sets off for the mountains and disappears.

The people at the resort form a search party and find him ill, and suffering from exposure. He is placed in hospital and here it is discovered that Tomasz is incurably ill.

It becomes clear that his psychotic condition is caused by the knowledge of his imminent death.

People he met at the ski resort visit him. They try to help by discussing and analysing their own attitudes to death. But as his condition deteriorates, Thomasz is forced to face the end alone.

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