Skip to main content

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.

See also...

Working Women

In sketchy outlines the film refers to the everyday life of working women and ends with an allegorical tableau. ... More »

The Jump

A black joke about a day that starts as any other. . . ... More »

ROUGH TREATMENT

For close to three decades it seems that no film festival has been complete without a new film by Andrzej Wajda, Poland's greatest director and a film-maker with a seemingly inexhaustible capacity to ... More »

STORY OF SIN

This ornate period melodrama, set in Poland at the turn of the century, is based on a novel by Stefan Zeromski, author of 'Ashes'. A teenage girl, strictly brought up, confesses her sins and is ... More »

Lump of Sugar

The hypocracy of the horse racing elite and the hardened gambler is highlighted in this work. ... Images of admiring crowds and gentle handlers are countered by the demise of the horse. ... More »

The Pavement

Using the pavement as a symbol, this animated film sounds a warning against creeping industrialisation destroying the natural world around us. ... Diploma of Merit, Montreal Film Festival. Grand ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director