April 7th @ 4:30 PM
Poland, France, UK
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Runtime: 84 minutes
Language: Polish, French, German, Croatian, Italian, Russian with English subtitles
Cannes Film Festival: Best Director, National Board of Review: Best Foreign Language Film; Palm Springs International Film Festival: Best Actress; Academy Award Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography; 29 other wins, 99 other nominations
“Its greatest strengths…are its two knockout leads, who give the story its heat, its flesh and its heartbreak.”—Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Ida” (a NOSFA feature) is another black-and-white drama lived in the aftermath of WW II, tracing the emotional paths of a Polish musician and a singer as they drift in and out of each other’s lives from 1949 to 1964.
Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) is a musician who’s talented but a little bit lost. While working on a project to record vanishing folk songs, he meets blonde Zula (Joanna Kulig), a big-city performer posing as a rural choirgirl to land a job that’ll get her back to Warsaw.
Over the next decade, Wiktor and Zula (loosely based on Pawlikowski’s parents) will encounter one another all over Europe, as their relationship fades and rekindles on either side of the Iron Curtain. They meet in Paris, then Berlin. Wiktor finds success as a film composer; Zula becomes the jewel of the Soviet entertainment circuit. They could be happy, but instead keep finding reasons not to be.
On its face, “Cold War” is as emotionally chilly as its title suggests, with its protagonists betraying one another – and themselves – more out of cynical calculation than any patriotic belief.
But Pawlikowski, Kot and Kulig let us see how and why those betrayals happen, hinting at the failures of nerve, or the misguided ideological convictions, that infect Wiktor and Zula’s values and drive their decisions. Their fates joined, Zula and Wiktor struggle both with personal demons and historical forces that persist in tearing them apart.