Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018)

PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  Poland/United Kingdom/France, 2018.  Opus Film, Apocalypso Pictures, MK2 Productions, Arte France, BFI Film Fund, Canal+ Polska, Cinestaan Film Company, City of Lodz, City of Warsaw, EC1 Lódz – Miasto Kultury, Eurimages, Film4, Kino Swiat, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, MK2 Films, Maziowiecki Fundusz Filmowy, Mazovia Region, Mazovia Warsaw Film Fund,…

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Loving Vincent (2017)

DOROTA KOBIELA, HUGH WELCHMAN Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  Poland/United Kingdom/USA, 2017.  BreakThru Productions, Trademark Films, Silver Reel, Odra Film, Centrum Technologii Audiowizualnych, Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej, RBF Productions, Sevenex Capital Partners.  Screenplay by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Jacek Dehnel.  Cinematography by Tristan Oliver, Lukasz Zal.  Produced by Sean M. Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman.  Music by Clint Mansell.  Production Design by Matthew…

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Venus In Fur (La Venus a la Fourrure)

BBBB (out of 5) It is no small feat to make a film with just two people in one room and have it be this captivating, but Roman Polanski has managed it. Emmanuelle Seigner plays a pushy, perpetually chattering actress who enters a theatre and is devastated that she has arrived well after auditions for a…

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The Third Part Of The Night (Trzecia Czesc Nocy)

BBBB (out of 5) Remarkably assured feature debut by the never dull Andrzej Zulawski, set during World War II and rife with espionage, violence and lice.   Joining the homeland resistance after family tragedy at the hands of the Gestapo, Michal goes undercover working in a research lab to help develop a typhus vaccine while conducting the…

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Nights And Days (Noce I Dnie)

BBBB (out of 5) Dramatic epic based on the novel by Maria Dabrowska that has been called Poland’s Gone With The Wind, a mammoth four hour drama that has been cut down from the twelve-part miniseries that was originally broadcast on television. With the Germans invading during World War I, an elderly widow is evacuated…

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The Silent Star (First Spaceship on Venus) (Der Schweigende Stern)

BB.5 (out of 5) This East German/Polish co-production, based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, begins with 1960s Earth receiving a message from Venus in the form of a cylinder containing an audio recording.  The scientific community is immediately abuzz and assembles a team of astronauts to head to our neighboring planet, not realizing until…

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Phoenix (2014)

BBBB (out of 5) Nina Hoss barely emerges alive from a concentration camp at the end of World War II, her face horrifically mutilated before she is taken to a clinic and given a new life thanks to reconstructive surgery.  Her friend Nina Kunzendorf, who is working on recovering evidence of war crimes, informs her that…

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The Mill And The Cross

BBBB (out of 5) Master painter Pieter Bruegel’s panoramic work The Road To Calvary is turned into a stunning artistic experiment by filmmaker Lech Majewski. He opens with a dramatic recreation of the painting before turning to various explorations of the lives of the figures who inhabit the canvas, recreating the lives of peasants and…

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Ida

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A girl raised from infancy in a convent is preparing to take her vows in mid-sixties Poland when a woman shows up claiming to be a relative.  It turns out the visitor is her aunt Wanda, who reveals that the future Sister Anna is actually a Jewish girl named Ida, placed…

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Mother Joan Of The Angels (Matka Joanna Od Aniolow)

BBBB (out of 5) Fascinating exploration of faith and superstition as a priest arrives at a remote convent to be spiritual consultant to a nun who has been reported as being possessed by a legion of demons. When he arrives he finds a nunnery overrun with madness, the habited woman of the title veering back…

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Night Train (Pociag)

BBB.5 (out of 5) A doctor boards a train traveling between cities and finds out that the cabin he just purchased is already occupied by a mysterious blond.  She is being hounded by a handsome young man with a lower-classed ticket who keeps trying to communicate with her, while the doctor is being pestered by…

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Antichrist

BB (out of 5) Lars von Trier makes his most provocative film yet with this attention-grabbing but empty drama. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are a married couple whose child dies in an unfortunate accident, falling out of a window while they’re having sex.  The resulting grief threatens to completely pervert Gainsbourg’s mind, so her therapist husband…

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