The fourth day of Official Competition celebrated the return of Jean-Luc Godard, the director of more than 60 films and short films with his Book of Image (France) and The Eternals (Ash is Purest White), a romance on a background of underworld gangs by Chinese director Zhang-Ke Jia. Yesterday, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War described a romance disturbed by Cold War issues.
Jean-Luc Godard is back on the Croisette with his Livre d’Image which tells “great things in a soft and weak voice.” Zhang-Ke Jia, who won the Lion d’Or in Venice in 2006 with Still Life, presented The Eternals, a romance between the years 2000 and 2018, a period in which traditional values and lifestyles have changed radically. Yesterday, the Slavic soul, imbued with romance and nostalgia, sang his desperation in Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War, the polish director who recently won an Oscar with his film Ida.
No better tomorrow
Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War opens a square screen on post-war Poland in 1949. The triumphant communism seeks to enhance the folk art of the rural people to relieve them from previous humiliations. Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), a passionate pianist and conductor, is looking, deep in the countryside, for both traditional songs and voices to perform them in a mazurek, a party-licensed musical and choreographic collective. His quest will make him meet the beautiful Zula (Joanna Kulig), a blonde with a strong character and peasant common sense. The group of fresh recruits knows a great success, to the point of being forced to sing odes to the glory of Stalin in a tour of the “brothers”countries.
Freedom does not always make happiness
The couple will drag their fusional, passionate and chaotic love from Poland to Germany, from France to Yugoslavia and back to Poland. With the constant pressure of politics, one not able to live without the other, the lovers will tear apart and reconcile to the rhythm of music, partition of the story between Wiktor and Zula. In Paris, where finally the two lovers live together, Zula discovers that Wictor, “a man in his country” has become “an exiled Polish artist”, perhaps less virile… In Paris, it is necessary “to have relief”, to show off and fall in with the system of sulphurous “friendships” to be successful and make a record. Freedom is not always happiness and Zula, disgusted by the frivolity of Paris, returnes to Poland.
Love kills time
Time does not count when you are in love, says Pawel Pawlikowski. A time punctuated by the song The Heart, clumsily translated into French to become a jazz song. The couple still seems close to a happy tomorrow, but alas, the next day is disillusioned… Cold War is a superb film with intelligent and always surprising frames, the historical reconstatcion truth is breathtaking, served by a sublime photo. And if love, toujours l’amour, remains unsatisfied, the sumptuous music remains, essential to the film.
Cold War by Pawel Pawlikowsk
The Red Carpet of Ash Is purest White by Zhang-Ke Jia
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