9 October 2018 | bastille-852-731547
Beautifully Made Drama from Poland
This superbly shot and acted black-and-white drama from Poland is a worthy film from Pawel Pawlikowski. It doesn't quite live up to his outstanding previous film "Ida," but it comes close. Like "Ida," this film runs a fleeting 90 minutes and is shot in black and white using simple (but gorgeous) cinematography. For a film of such short runtime, "Cold War" is deeply ambitious, and for the most part, the ambition pays off. It is set over a considerable period of time both inside and outside of the Iron Curtain, and centers on a love story between a man and his student who meet at a state-run music academy in communist Poland.
The film's use of a variety of filmmaking techniques to depict the history and culture of postwar Europe through using historical context is outstanding. The simple and very powerful music is beautiful, as is every key shot in black-and-white. The two leads both give excellent performances, mixing desire for purpose in life with an intense feeling of passion that is prevalent among ambitious individuals in the era. Some of these strengths in the movie are even combined together to excellent results, such as a chilling scene when young women from the state music academy sing songs pledging absolute loyalty to Stalin on stage in performance. The juxtaposition of the different scenes in the movie is also done very well, as each scene simply cuts to black before the next major scene (set in a different region or area of Europe) begins. The only real complaint I have about this film is that while I really appreciated the ending for the most part, the tone of the film's finale felt slightly anti-climactic. Otherwise, this is a gem. Gladly recommended. 8/10