a decent filmic chamber drama...with a sociological funnybone (politics = sociology)....can i say these first two films in MUBI's Zanussi retrospective kinda went in one mind's eye and out the other? It's not that they're bad movies, it's just that they don't jibe with my tastes so much...still, I'll keep watching, cuz i liked the final scene here....
Grateful for this introduction to Zanussi's oeuvre. Amazed by how the theatre mixes beautifully with cinematic language (beautiful camera work, mad music, superb production design). Everyone in the cast brings so much emotion to their roles. There is unmistakable depth in their domestic life that mirrors the political strife of its time.
Drama about coming home to all the problems and conflicts that stay the same there. It feels and looks like a confined "play of the week" movie at first and stays pretty slow until the family's monarch arrives and the acting and dialogue turns more interesting. Still it is a movie that hits-and-misses with it's story of "you can never turn your back on family even when you hate them". A little underwhelming.
Zanussi has a particular gift on making drama resonate on a level beyond just the personal, they become great social dialogues. When you are finished with this one you are left thinking deeply about the nature of change in a society, privilege and the murkiness of restructure of the social order.
Denouement .. riddled with sadness. The son's choices are key to family fortunes it is said. Yet he who walked before, walks again. How disappointing; leaving the trio to rot with the house. The grin, does he care not to leave father to his fate. Would he have made a difference, or languished too, marked by the general descent of family left to marinade in hopelessness. Everyone plus dog, had their say in the end.
You can tell how this movie was a step up for Zanussi. It's about mixing the classic exercise in style that is the family movie with Poland recent history. The beginning of the movie feels a bit artificial, the situations too staged and Maja Komorowska's a bit forced. As the films unravels, the subtlety of the dialogues which leaves no dark secrets of this family unexplored eventually enthrals.
Can we ever truly leave our past behind? I found this film to be weaker than his first, possibly because I felt that the black and white photography allowed ideas to emerge in clearer, sharper relief, while this one is more like a dream fantasy journey into memory. I thought an interesting touch was Wit’s smile of acceptance at the end. After all the grimness it felt like a little bit of a laugh.