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In “Cold War,” a hot romance is doomed from the start. Writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose 2013 film “Ida” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, stages a love story that crosses political boundaries, but is universal in its volatility.
Tomasz Kot is Wiktor Warski, a musician scouting talent in post-WWII Poland. Joanna Kulig electrifies as Zuzanna “Zula” Lichoń, a much younger singer who catches his eye from a crowded field. The two pair up and their affair shoots sparks, though both parties know the flame is burning quickly and isn’t meant to last.
They fall out and reconvene years later in France, and follow this pattern for years. Political forces keep them apart. But so do their personal issues, and their inability to shelve the other matters in their lives and make each other a priority. They take up other lovers, knowing they’ll eventually come back to one another. But the passion between them runs so deep that they’re always ready to explode, walk away and repeat the cycle all over again. A scene where Zula tears up a dance floor to “Rock Around the Clock” while he looks on speaks volumes.
The political metaphors are thick, but not so much that they overshadow the humanity of the love story at the film’s center. Kot and Kulig scorch the screen when they’re together, and Pawlikowski (working with cinematographer Łukasz Żal) shoots in luxe black and white that adds to the stark economy of the film. (It comes in at a lithe 88 minutes.)
The ending comes as a stunner, but is the only logical conclusion for Wiktor and Zula. “Cold War” captivates and transcends barriers of language and culture. It’s a gorgeous tale as rocky as it is romantic.
Adam Graham Detroit News Film Criticagraham@detroitnews.com
Published 9:25 AM EST Feb 1, 2019
The Course will concentrate attention on the crucial events in the history of Poland its victories and calamities. Its economic and cultural development, the most important places of spiritual life (like Wawel Cathedral, Jasna Góra), most significant achievements of science, industry, literature, music, and arts. It aims to bring an acquaintance with life and works of outstanding polish artists (Wyspiański, Nowosielski, Fangor), musicians (Chopin, Wieniawski, Lutosławski, Penderecki), writers (Sienkiewicz, Gombrowicz, Miłosz, Szymborska), movie directories (Wajda, Kieślowski) and scientists (Copernicus, Hevelius, Staszic, Skłodowska – Curie).People whose achievements deserve a worldwide promotion.
This course requires participants a bit of activity such as reading samples of works of polish Nobel prize winners in literature, confronting polish history and its heritage with the history of their own countries, looking for relations and connections.
Poland in the 21st Century
Poland – basic facts.
How to avoid faux pas – how to use the presented expression correctly?
Polish legends. Piast dynasty.
Polish cuisine, rules connected with meals.
Renaissance in Poland.
First elected monarchs. House of Vasa. Stefan Batory and Jan III Sobieski.
Polish holidays – part I
Wrocław today and yesterday.
History and culture of Wrocław.
The partitions of Poland. Uprising fights for the independence.
I World War and the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty. The figure of Józef Piłsudski.
The time of Second Polish Republic.
Polish holidays – part II
II World War. German occupation. Holocaust and German Nazi concentration camps on the territory of Poland. Soviet occupation– prison camps on Soviet territories. Katyn massacre.
The post-war period – lack of freedom. Times of Stalinism.
The reign of Communists. Strikes and the birth of ‘Solidarity’ (Polish Trade Union). The figure of Lech Wałęsa. The Martial law in Poland. The fall of Communism, the Round Table, restoration of sovereignty.
John Paul II became a Pope in 1978. The role of his pontificate in the history of Poland, Europe, and the world.
Most significant masterpieces of Polish arts – summary.
Cultural Diversity – discussion.
A PAINTED HISTORY OF POLAND, RED. E. OLCZAK, WSTĘP: J. TAZBIR, WYD. DEMART, WARSZAWA 2009.
BUBCZYK R., A HISTORY OF POLAND IN OUTLINE, WYD. 3 UZUPEŁNIONE, LUBLIN 2011.
NOWIŃSKI K., POLSKA. POLAND. OPOWIEŚĆ O LUDZIACH, ZABYTKACH I PRZYRODZIE. PEOPLE, NATURE AND HISTORIC TREASURES, WYD. 3, WARSZAWA 2011.
WÓJCIK T., POLAND. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SITES, WARSZAWA 2008.
DAVIES N., GOD’S PLAYGROUND. A HISTORY OF POLAND, OXFORD 2010.
God’s Playground, A History of Poland: Volume 1: The Origins to 1795 (English) 19. April 2003
God’s Playground: 1795 to the Present-Day v.2: A History of Poland (English) January 1983 Norman Davies (Autor)
Poland: A History (English) – 20. July 2015 Adam Zamoyski
5. Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present (English) – 23. August 2001 Norman Davies (Autor)
6. Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City. Book by Norman Davies and Roger Moorhouse
Recommended literature and teaching resources Polish Culture and History.
a. Ford Charles, Hammond R; The Polish Film; McFarland ₰ Company, London 2005.
b. N. Davies; Heart of Europe. A Short History of Poland, Oxford University Press 1986.
c. J. Falkowska, S. Janicki; The New Polish Cinema, QuickBooks 2003.
d. J. Falkowska; Andrzej Wajda. New York – Oxford, NerghamBooks 2008.
e. Haltof Marek; Polish Film and Holocaust; BrghahnBooks 2011. M.Hennel – Bernasikowa;
f. The Tapestries of Sigismund August, Zamek królewski na Wawelu, Kraków 1998. Janicki ;
g. The Polish Film Yesterday and Today. Interpress, Warszawa 1985.
h. Mangha – The History of the Design, Mangha, Kraków 2009. A. Mickiewicz; Forefathers,
i. The Polish Cultural Foundation London 1968. J. K. Ostrowski; Cracow, Wyd. Artystyczne i Filmowe, Cracow – Warsaw, 1992.
j. Polish Literature from the Middle Ages to the end of the Eighteenth Century. A Bilingual Anthology Selected and Translated by Michael J Mikoś, Constans, Warszawa 1999.
k. M. Romanowska; Stanisław Wyspiański, BOSZ, Kraków 2009.
l. Selected Poems by W. Szymborska, Cz. Miłosz, T Różewixcz, J. Hartwig , Kraków 1968-2013.