Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Third Part of the Night

A distinct lack of updates of late, as I have been very busy. Time to rectify that somewhat...

Last night I went to see the film The Third Part of the Night, the first film by Andrej Zulawski. It's just been released on DVD in the UK, and Zulawski was doing a little promotional tour for it, introducing the screening and doing a Q&A afterwards.

It's only the third Zulawski film I've seen after La Fidelite and Possession - which Argento has praised, although in the interview in Eyeball Zulawski was pretty dismissive of The Stendhal Syndrome; he's the kind of guy who's not afraid to ruffle some feathers - and probably now my favourite.

Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Poland, it has a fragmented narrative in which reality and dream intertwine, with symbolist and surrealist elements, sometimes perhaps a touch overdone (one doorframe has a illuminati triangle above it; I thought it enough that it was there for us to notice, but that it didn't need to be emphasised; likewise the recurring crucifixes and rocking horses).

I'd reductively describe it as The Pianist crossed with Mirror or Point Blank with borrowings from Vampyr and (maybe) Jean Painleve, although as these scrabblings for reference points suggest Zulawski's really one of those sui generis filmmakers who creates his own universe of meanings.

Likewise, there are are probably sources closer to home there, with that usual difficulty of watching a film from another culture through a limited set of reference points, as when in the Q&A he referred to some Polish surrealists ouwith the familiar western / southern European pantheon.

At any rate, it made me want to watch Possession again and gets the thumbs up.

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