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Cold War


Year: 2018 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski 
Starring: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc  
An image from Cold War

Cold War

is the newest delight from Oscar-winning writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski, which debuted at Cannes Film Festival 2018, where it won Best Director. Pawlikowski returns with a passionate, impossible love story set in aftermath of the Second World War, in communist Poland, in which a charismatic man (Tomasz Kot) falls for a striking girl, Zula (Joanna Kulig), who truly is the star of the show, as a multidimensional, mystifying outcast.

Shot in black-and-white square format, the visual masterpiece is the Polish love child of The Artist – the silent movie which won the Best Picture Oscar in 2011 - and musical La La Land, yet within the political context of the Cold War.

The two main roles Zula and Wiktor are both brilliantly portrayed: both Kulig, (who interestingly also had a role in Pawlikowkski’s Ida, an Oscar-winning Polish masterpiece, again shot in black and white) and Kot respectively give captivating, very real performances.

The theme of containment reflected in the use of the black-and-white square format contrasts with the music and magic embraced in the film, as Pawlikowski establishes rival themes of freedom and imprisonment, communism and opportunity. The film crosses boundaries of space and time, entrapment and liberation, love and fear; ultimately, Zula and Wiktor’s devotion for each other battles to overcome the state sponsored fear of the Polish authorities of the Soviet-era.

Naz Ozkan

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Screenings of this film:

2018/2019 Autumn Term (digital)