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A passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris.

Review by Louise Keller:
As bleak as it is beautiful, Pawel Pawlikowski's melancholy film is an ode to love. It's an epic tale on a grand scale with music binding the elements together. Exquisitely shot in tantalizing black and white and set on a chilly backdrop of icy snow, the film is cinematic and poetic as it canvasses the push-pull attraction between a man and a woman and the love of country. The claustrophobic fog of the Cold War hovers throughout.

The film begins in 1949 Poland with snippets of songs. The search is on to amass a troupe of young locals to perform Polish folk songs on tour. Handsome, charismatic pianist and conductor Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) is immediately taken by pretty, blonde Zula (Joanna Kulig), whose spirit and energy are as much a drawcard as her singing talents. Their relationship sizzles with passion from the outset. But it is never simple.

Disjointed edits reflect the disjointed nature of the relationship and the story ... as the countries change and the years pass. Mood is established by imagery and texture. Pawlikowski offers us glimpses only. It is up to us to fill in the gaps. The musical sequences are hypnotic but there is much more going on than the performances. Look out for the scene when the portrait of Stalin rises above the choir of angelic faces during a performance.

This is no ordinary love story but one punctuated by turmoil and conflict. Pawlikowski has lovingly created a work of art and has elicited superb performances from his talented cast. He was awarded the Best Director award at Cannes in 2018.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
In Cold War, the callous inhumanity and brutal application of Soviet style communism is revealed through a story of two lovers during the Cold War, starting in 1949. Shot in black and white - the true symbolic colours of the era - Pawel Pawlikowski's film takes an acidic view of the damage that those gangsters in the system caused - to millions. The rust of communism lasts years. But love endures, too, and lasts longer, perhaps into eternity.

No matter what you may have read about the film, nothing will prepare you for its sharp jump cuts in time, in place, in tone. Nor for the twists in the relationships between Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig), nor for the total catastrophe that engulfs these characters.

If you want an uplifting entertainment, go and see Mary Poppins this Christmas. But if you want cinema that challenges and digs into your soul, catch a Cold War.

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Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(Poland, France, UK, 2018)

Zimna wojna

CAST: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc, Agata Kulesza, Cedric Kahn, Jeanne Balibar

PRODUCER: Ewa Puszczynska, Tanya Seghatchian

DIRECTOR: Pawel Pawlikowski

SCRIPT: Pawel Pawlikowski, Janusz Glowacki


EDITOR: Jaroslaw Kaminski

MUSIC: Not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Benoit Barouh, Marcel Slawinski, Katarzyna Sobanska-Strzalkowska

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2018

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