FAMILY LIFE (1970) [Feature]

Poland (MIFF 1972 )
Director: Krzysztof Zanussi

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 industrialist, receives a telegram that his father is seriously ill. A friend drives him to his father's house. Both the house and the family are somewhat of an anachronism in present &ndash: day Poland. The family lives in an old mansion which, despite its dilapidated condition, still manages to reflect its former glory.

Though the young man left his family some years ago, he still loves his father, who is now an alcoholic, at war with the world, making a living by producing illicit vodka, most of which he consumes himself. Living in the same house are Wit's sister, Bella, an unhappy, cynical girt with a disturbing nature, and an aunt, a sour, world-weary woman.

From his arrival, late in the afternoon, till early next morning, a battle is fought between Wit and his family, all of whom try to persuade him to stay home and help his father in his business.

“The director has played this out with thoughtfulness and skill, delicacy and restraint. Everything could easily have been exaggerated for effect, but with an able and knowing cast of players he has made a haunting and simple film with great depth of feeling.” Prat in Variety

”Very intimate in scale, the film is beautifully acted by Daniel Olbrychski and Jan Kreczmar. as the daughter, Maja Komorowska brings a more flamboyant (dare one say it) ‘Polish' note, appropriate to the character of Bella. At long last, the Polish cinema has a new and important director...” Richard Roud, The Guardian

Silver Hugo, Chicago.

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