Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Two Hearts: The Love and Loss of Pawlikowski’s ‘Cold War’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | January 23rd, 2019

Another stunning work of perfectly placed ellipses and calculated restraint, Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” is a film filled with images as iconic and austere as its blunt title. A haunting experience of history by suggestion, the movie traces a tragic romance across years and landscapes, relying as heavily on Lukasz Zal’s arresting, monochromatic, Academy ratio cinematography as it does on the sharp editing by Jaroslaw Kominski. Pawlikowski collaborated with both of those craftsmen on Oscar-winner “Ida,” and “Cold War” is a gorgeous companion that is every bit as good, and possibly even better, than the celebrated 2013 title.

Clocking in crisply and efficiently at 85 minutes, “Cold War” wastes nothing, often presenting strings of diabolically economical short scenes to advance the narrative that focuses on musician/composer/conductor Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) and singer/dancer/performer Zuzanna “Zula” Lichon (Joanna Kulig) as they come together and move apart and come together on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Pawlikowski dedicates the film to his parents and uses their names for his two protagonists. So skillful is the filmmaker at communicating in pure visual language, one need not know much about mid-20th century Eastern Europe to understand the challenges faced by artists trapped in the cogs of an oppressive political machine.

Along with the beautiful photography and knockout cutting, Pawlikowski laces “Cold War” with a soundtrack that captures the conflicting moods of clashing ideologies. Beginning with the rural folk and work songs sung by peasants and accelerating through small jazz combos and wild communist transpositions of swinging big bands, the fortunes, and misfortunes of Wiktor and Zula are traced as much through the musical arrangements they perform together and separately as any dialogue they exchange with one another. At one exhilarating turning point, the infectious, magnetizing 12-bar blues of Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” instantly pulls Zula from her stool to the dance floor and the bar top.

As star-crossed Ilsa and Rick, Zula and Wiktor painfully discover that they can’t live with or without each other in just the same way that they cannot live with or without Poland. One bureaucratic official is disbelieving and incredulous when Wiktor petitions to leave Paris to return to his homeland. We understand, even though the decision guarantees something menacing and horrific. Among the many other echoes of “Casablanca” is a shot that mirrors Ilsa’s surprising late night visit to see Rick at the Cafe Americain. As an analog to Mr. Blaine, Wiktor also happens to be his own Sam. He plays his own placeholders for “As Time Goes By” whenever the longing for Zula overtakes him.

Some viewers will adore the way in which Pawlikowski collaborates with his actors to create characters filled with the wholeness of familiar humanness, especially when the filmmaker withholds so much of the stuff we would expect in the presentation of a traditional screen romance. The pauses, then fades to black, and the spaces in between are all elisions that arouse deep curiosity, but also inspire us to wonder and imagine all kinds of things that Pawlikowski keeps from our eyes and ears. One of the best gifts of “Cold War” is that we never feel like we have been cheated.  

Recently in:

BISMARCK – Two bills are fighting for ethical supremacy in the North Dakota State Legislature. Senate Bill 2148, sponsored by Senator Tim Mathern, a Democrat from Fargo, received a ‘Do Pass’ from Special Ethics Committee on…

Culture

​‘Pull-Tab’ machines

by HPR Contributor

By Zach Nerpelzachnerpel@gmail.comThere is nothing more hopeless than a feeling unrequited. The obsession it brings, the doubt it stews, and the madness which erases your sense of self are crippling. You’ll give more than you are…

Thursday, February 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m.650 40th Ave S, West FargoThe area’s premier evening of Yoga, wine, cheese and community. Luna Fargo restaurant owner and wine/cheese expert, Nikki Berglund, will select 3 pairings to follow…

It will be Valentine’s Day by the time this issue hits the stands, but who knows you might even be picking it up after you’ve finished eating the last of the chocolates you bought for yourself for Valentine’s Day.We’re not…

Gadfly

Anti-Life America

by Ed Raymond

All The Evidence Points To An Anti-Life Political PartyAfter observing and experiencing the machinations and voting records of the Republican Party from Nixon to Reagan To Bush To Trump, one can arrive at only one conclusion: It is…

After a day of checking the weather updates and keeping an eye on any closing announcements from this week’s entrants, our judges ordered up a ride share service and headed out to the western side of town for two stops in West…

Over the past few years Luna has become my favorite restaurant in the FM area. The thoughtfulness of Ryan’s creations and the neighborhood environment of the locale as a whole creates a beautiful experience that can’t be found…

Music

​Ready or Knot

by HPR Contributor

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comWhen Sabrina gets a hold of you and asks you to interview a band as unique as Fargo locals The Knotties you just yell “yes!” Only a few days later I was meeting with Channing Minnema (lead vocals,…

Documentarian Penny Lane adds another entertaining movie to her filmography with an inside look at the recent rise of the Satanic Temple. As a movie experience, “Hail Satan?” often lives deliciously. The film might even turn…

By Jacinta Zensjacinta.zens@gmail.comThe Department of Visual Arts at Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls and the Kaddatz Galleries are excited to announce the First Annual Visiting Artists Workshop series.…

To many people unfamiliar with the wide range of the musical genre, the word ‘opera’ conjures up stereotypical images of people in period costumes and large women in Viking garb singing in foreign languages. The truth, however,…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

The 1,290 square-foot garage that was once Main Avenue Auto has generated a lot of buzz for good reason. Harold’s on Main is Moorhead’s newest watering hole and the attention is all in the details. With its dark wood paneling,…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

By Cara Cody-Brauncara.braun@wyndmereschools.orgI am not much of a science fiction fan, but I’m a sucker for a story with a portal. Who hasn’t dreamed of entering a different world? Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole in…