10 August 2014 | RogerTheMovieManiac88
A deeply moving and superbly acted gem from Krzysztof Zanussi
Also known by its English-language title 'A Year of the Quiet Sun', this is a poignant and powerful depiction of the tentative and soulful romance that develops between a Polish widow named Emilia and Norman, an American soldier, who is involved in investigating apparent Nazi war-crimes in her small town in the immediate aftermath of World War Two.
Krzysztof Zanussi, though not as well-known internationally as his contemporaries, has crafted a heartbreaking and transcendental romance to rival the very best from Kieslowski and Holland. Directed with restraint and an observational eye, the movie establishes a tangible sense of place and time.
Set in contrast against the squalid grey landscapes, the interior scenes are bathed in gentle elegiac hues that mirror the melancholic warmth of the acting. Slawomir Idziak's cinematography certainly adds a mellow and heartwarming tone to proceedings. The soothing and gently romantic score of Wojciech Kilar lingers softly around the edges and complements perfectly the deftness of Zanussi's direction.
In many ways, the wistful compassion of 'Rok spokojnego slonca' reminded me of Clint Eastwood's 'The Bridges of Madison County'. Both romances are grounded very much in the unavoidable realities of life yet succeed in tenderly conveying the powerful dreams and hopes that deep love can engender.
As much as the technical aspects make this a film of considerable beauty, it was the subtle, heartfelt acting of Maja Komorowska and Scott Wilson that most touched me. The quiet dignity that Komorowska conveys as Emilia cares for her mother and ekes out an existence amidst the rubble proved deeply affecting. One wishes with all one's being that such a selfless and beautiful person as Emilia could find lasting happiness in life. The astonishing performance of the luminous Komorowska brought tears to my eyes. Her playing exhibits quite wonderful sensitivity and a sublime understanding and it is a portrayal I shall treasure being able to witness for as long as I live. 'Rok spokojnego slonca' is a movie of rare emotional depth and beauty and one that deserves to be seen for generations to come by cinema lovers the world over.