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cold war

Director: PaweL Pawlikowski (the woman in the fifth, ida)

Starring: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc, and Agata Kulesza


REVIEWER: lyall carter


Two mismatched lovers are caught between East and West in 1950s Europe in this ravishing, music-fuelled romantic drama.

Cold War comes with more acclaim than most films. Director Pawel Pawlikowski won Best Director at Cannes, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director at the Oscars, as well as garnering a swag of other wins and nominations. To put it bluntly - this film's got game. But unfortunately it doesn't quite live up to expectations. 

Wiktor is a musical director for a travelling folk band, and early on we see him auditioning local singers for the troupe. It is here where he meets the attractive and aurally talented Zula, and soon they are together having fallen in love. They begin a journey that will take them across Europe, through the Iron Curtain of the Cold War of the title, while on a deeply personal one also, as we witness their stormy, passionate on/off affair at various points in time across the continent.

Don't get me wrong Cold War is an exquisite looking film. The cinematography - the barren landscapes, singing locals, and old Europe are given a particularly gorgeous glow from the black and white palette the film makers chose for the film. There is no doubt about it - Cold War looks like a living, breathing work of art.  

Its the thrust of the narrative - the on again off again romance between Wiktor and Zula that lies at the very heart of the movie, which left me a little cold. I guess I just didn't completely buy it and because of that I became distracted. 

Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot give wonderful performances full of grace and passion, aiding by a terrific supporting cast. 

Exquisite cinematography and wonderful performance don't quite make up for a lacklustre narrative. 


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Cold War is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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