3 Oscar Nominations!
Best Foreign Language Film, Cinematography, Director
Want to see a truly great film? This is it. And, though this terrific film is in (ravishingly gorgeous) black and white and comes from Poland, not two normal features of Oscar’s attention, Cold War is so good and so widely acclaimed, it may have a lead on more Academy Award nominations than just the Best Foreign Language one it’s shortlisted for as we write this. “Shot in the same inky black-and-white as his haunting, Oscar-winning 2014 import Ida, director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War resembles a waking dream. And a ravishingly romantic one at that. The film opens in 1949, when a beautiful provincial girl named Zula (the mesmerizing Joanna Kulig) meets a pianist named Wiktor (Tomasz Kot). Zula is auditioning for a Polish performance ensemble that’s bringing rural folk music to the wider world. These peasant songs, like Poland’s dying traditions, are in danger of being lost as the country reels from the aftermath of World War II under Soviet rule. It doesn’t take long for the fiery Zula and the more reserved Wiktor to fall madly in love. But fate — and politics — will soon tear them apart. For a while, at least. Even in exile, these two doomed lovers are too deeply connected to stay apart for long…. What sticks with you about Pawlikowski’s transporting, heartbreaking film — more than its gorgeous monochrome look and the jazzy, smoky torch songs that fuel its second half — is Kulig, who, with her tempestuous moods, sensual abandon, and aching melancholy, is a rare kind of screen presence. You’d follow her anywhere — and Wiktor does, leading to his own oblivion. Cold War captures what it feels like to be swept up in amour fou, where the only thing more unimaginable than living with someone is living without them.” —Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly. In Polish with English subtitles. R. 88 Min.