where the sidewalk ends (otto preminger, 1950)
geezer cinema/film fatales #129: the lost daughter (maggie gyllenhaal, 2021)

cold war (pavel pawlikowski, 2018)

Sometimes an actor commands the screen with such remarkable presence that you can't keep your eyes off of them. If it's a new actor, then you know this will be the performance that makes them a star. Such is the work of Joanna Kulig in Cold War, and indeed she won several awards at festivals for this film. But Kulig had made more than 20 movies before Cold War, including two with Pavel Pawlikowski, one of which, Ida, I had seen (she had a supporting role in that film). She had worked on stage for many years, as well as several television series. She was already in her mid-30s when Cold War was filmed. In other words, her performance here did not come out of nowhere, and it didn't make her name ... she was already known, if not to me.

Still, imagine how great she is to elicit such a response. She plays a singer, Zula, in the film, and right from the start, people are commenting on Zula's unique appeal. Ten minutes in, one character remarks that "she has something", and he's right. Tomasz Kot is very good as well as Wiktor, a pianist who loves Zula. But when both are on the screen, it's Kulig who has our attention.

The film is beautifully shot in black and white, in the Academy ratio of 4:3. It takes place in post-war Europe, when the Cold War emerged, and the look of the film seems right for the time.

Pawlikowski makes good use of music, including one scene that makes Bill Haley seem like the most liberating of rock and rollers:

Cold War is #415 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.


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