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United States of Love review – liberation is desperation in a sick new world

Four women living in Poland as the Soviet empire falls are oppressed by joyless sex and yearning in Tomasz Wasilewski’s unnervingly sad and icy film

Tomasz Wasilewski brings an icy compositional control to this piercingly sad, strange and unnerving film, about a quartet of lives immersed in toxic obsession and thwarted erotic yearning. It concludes on a stab of what I can only describe as horror and despair. This film is not here to make you feel good. But it has a soap-operatic watchability. Poland in 1990 is the setting, just as the Soviet empire is collapsing. But so far from experiencing a liberation, the characters are only further oppressed by inner desperation, and the title is not entirely ironic. They are in fact “united” by very similar symptoms. There is a kind of eroticised sickness in the air, a compulsive, joyless need for sex. Agata (Julia Kijowska) has a

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