“Cold War”: Sumptuous Screen Visuals Depict a World War II Romance

Written by | Screen

Cold War scene

Cold War image by Lukasz Bak

Love is often called a battlefield, but it can also be a very long and quiet war. So it is in director Pawel Pawlikowski’s most recent film, Cold War, which follows his Oscar and BAFTA winning Ida (2013).

Set in Poland shortly after the close of WW II, Wiktor (Tomasz Not) is a musician who is working to transform a group of young men and women into a traveling exhibition of Polish folk dancing and singing.

Who’s That Girl?

Amongst them he singles out Zula (Joanna Kulig), a lass of limited ability but also possessed of a definite “It “factor, which clearly speaks to him as a man as much as it does to him as a teacher. There begins their long lovers’ war: through encounters over the ensuing decades, the pair are drawn to each other with nearly gravitational force even as they continually allow impediments from practical circumstances to temperamental whims to keep them apart.

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Love may be lovely, but after the damage wrought by a world war, there often seem to be more pressing realities that must be served first, including the fact that Wiktor can no longer return to Poland without risking arrest.

Wandering Eye

With his camera traveling from Paris to Krakow, Pawlikowski shoots an undeniably beautiful film that also serves as a reminder of how exquisite black-and-white cinematography can be. Add to that a creative score that mixes folk music with blues and classical styles in addition to smoldering lead performances by two starkly attractive actors, and you have another triumph of subtle, cinematic storytelling. The Word: From the documentaries of his early career onward, Pawlikoski has repeatedly distinguished himself as one of the best art house directors working today; I highly recommend checking out his 2000 film Last ResortComing to: Theaters

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Last modified: March 7, 2019

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