Oko wykol

The carnival knifethrower and the glowering lady, Perseus and the Gorgon (The Menacing Eye).



A marvelously eloquent and extremely rapid film in which Hamlet is trying to read the news and Ophelia won’t let him. She tumbles off their swing into a bathtub and strips.

Laertes besets Hamlet, Claudius and Gertrude (Szef and Szefowa) carouse, Hamlet prevails.

All read the news in various papers and magazines, including Ophelia at her bath, but she has a smiling flower to proffer.



The perfect rencounter.


Pieniądze albo zycie

Your Money or Your Life, a wartime joke on self-preservation, impressively filmed.

A Baudelairean jest on counterfeit money in a buyer’s market.



To assume for two years of national service the post of deputy director at an ichthyological museum in a small town on the seacoast means a last day in the city before catching the three o’clock train, a whole lifetime in a way, oddly summed up in the beggar’s story of fighting Germans with unexploded shells during the Uprising, and ferrying dead comrades to the graveyard in his truck after the war, all a fiction, he lost a leg when a tramcar ran over him, before the war.

Skolimowski’s masterpiece, unutterably precise, virtuosically filmed, seen by Bosley Crowther of the New York Times (under the title, Identification Marks: None) as “distractingly random and incoherent”.



The invisible barrier, this time a vision of freedom on the near side, all the obstacles, a complete evocation of the imposition.

A particularly brilliant masterwork in its filming, that made Crowther in his New York Times review think of Godard, any great cinematic display of usage will serve as a comparison, Bertolucci (Partner) is another example. Editing in the camera by careful expression of the scene in tiny attributes (the tram shed) that take off creating a new scene or newly appear as the camera moves and so on, certain theatrical effects added to this (active backgrounds in some symbolical, abstract way), and all along the simple drama of the predicament that always presents itself, like a bad dream that has its amusing aspects, from the director of Hamlet.


The Adventures of Gerard

A “funny little French fellow”, colonel in the Hussars, “the biggest fool in my army”, sent by Napoleon with false information that must be written down to ensure its capture by the English, Col. Gerard is so gallant.

But he carries the message to Marshal Massena, entirely in vain, and falls in love with a Spanish countess, and causes the day to be saved for France against Wellington, and wins glory from his Emperor, in spite of all.

A marvel from Conan Doyle, H.A.L. Craig, Skolimowski and the cast (McEnery, Cardinale, Wallach, Hawkins et al.).


Deep End

A surrealist mystery.

Its foundation on reality is well touted with a superb handheld camera, it couldn’t be better in that respect.

The public baths attendant’s love for his female counterpart undergoes the vicissitudes of Le Sang d’un Poète and climaxes in the vertiginous union of La Belle et la Bête, the ending is the caveman pool of Dreams That Money Can Buy.

Critics, let us be as clear as we can be about this high masterpiece of cinematic art, had not the slightest idea of it.


King Queen Knave

The British captain (name of Dreyer) who landed in Munich after the war and founded Dreyer’s Emporium, the Italian war refugee he married, and the exceedingly drippy but sexually frenzied nephew from England, an orphan.

Rather a parody of Sternberg’s An American Tragedy, or even Wilder’s Double Indemnity, but it works on a cinematic basis as Edwards’ The Pink Panther, with David Niven the uncle and John Moulder-Brown combining Clouseau and George.

Voskin has the advantage over the Magnotact that it not only looks real but feels real as well.

Nabokov is structurally well-served, as in Kubrick’s Lolita, by reference to a seemingly unrelated work, therefore.

Gina Lollobrigida thus appears in the coda as an electronic mannequin, the new product.


The Shout

Unmistakably a tale of the war yet built on a pre-war story by Robert Graves, which no doubt explains the critics’ confusion (“totally incoherent” was how the New York Times summed it all up in Canby’s review).

Hitler from the back of beyond with his “terror shout” is briefly and feebly emulated by a country cousin who is merely a jobber or cobbler next to him, the amusing specialty of the bumpkin is musique concrète, thus as shown it’s Nemerov’s “Truth”,

I drew beneath the surface of my sleep

Until I saw the helmet of the king

Of Nineveh, pale gold and glittering

On the king’s brow, yet sleeping knew that I

But thought the deepening blue thought of the fly.

Birds dueling in the air, and then the shattered soul in four occupation zones (under these circumstances it becomes a tangible thing).


Ręce do góry

Hands Up!, a satire on plaster saints, their dust washes off easily. A film banned in ’67, released with subsequent footage in ’81.

“You can’t make films in Room 209.”



The greatest Polish joke ever written (by Skolimowski) and filmed.

How many Polish laborers does it take to abandon their wives, forsake Solidarity (winter 1981-82), settle for rice and flour whilst refurbishing a party boss’s London digs, and be kept in the dark about it?

Three minus the foreman, says this masterpiece bar none.


Success Is the Best Revenge

The second-greatest Polish joke (after Moonlighting), the one about the Légion-d’honneur-winning theater director in London cadging money to put on double-decker bus spectacles with a football metaphor, England vs. Poland... and as if that were not enough, his moody son bound for Warsaw in a punk do (upon arrival a guard pockets his passport).


The Lightship

The Hatteras “offshore Norfolk, Virginia” ca. 1955, commandeered by thieves who have knocked over a Treasury courier.

The allegory was not plain to critics. Vincent Canby (New York Times) calls it “a 1950’s-style B-movie”, Time Out Film Guide does better with Key Largo. Variety reports some post-production fiddling, including the voiceover, but blames Skolimowski as “notorious for improvisation himself”.

The precision of filming belies the allegation of slipshod work, the intention can probably be discerned.

Duvall’s performance won two prizes at Venice, is a fantastic combination of effects perhaps founded on Tennessee Williams or William F. Buckley, Jr., and surely gives a clue.

The opening scene certainly reflects the final scene of Success Is the Best Revenge, and with the same actor.


Four Nights with Anna

The objectified nightmare of Poland is its death camps, they come back to haunt a Polish girl who gets a drugged sleep every night while the nightmare, a helpless witness, tries to console and assuage her.

He goes to jail for her rape and again for his nightly visits, but wins from her an acknowledgment that he was innocent of the first, yet a wall divides the pair henceforth.

Perfectly filmed, with Chaplin humor and a beautiful soundtrack prized at the Polish Film Festival.