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Poland, 1968 (MIFF 1970, Programme 2)

Director: Andrzej Wajda

The boy in dark glasses who was hero of Andrzej WajtIa`s film. Ashes and Difttrtottrls, was played by Zbigniew Cybulski. The actor and the part he created became a legend, not unlike that of James Dean. Then in 'l966 Cybulski was killed when he was running for a train and fell under it. This is n film about a film. A film unit is shooting the scene of a catastrophe in which a running man is drawn under the wheels of a moving train. The part is played by the director because he is standing in for his leading actor who is late on the set. Then the unit returns to the studio to film an encounter between the dead man's wife (played by the actor`s wife) and his former mistress (played by the director`s wife). Afterwards the women go in search of the absent actor, who had been lecturing at a youth club, and find he has left on an impromptu visit to an old friend. Resuming their pursuit by car, they hear a radio announcement of the actor's death under a train...

Slowly but surely, a portrait is built up until one almost feels that Cybulski himself is present, and not the least remarkable aspect of Wajda's achievement is the ironic, completely unsentimental tone of the narrative.

London Film Festival. 1968

Easy enough to recall his mannerisms. his clothes, the sort of presents he gave, the way he behaved; and easy enough to say what he represented _ but the man himself is completely elusive.

Philip Strick in Monthly Film Bulletin

This is a flamboyant but incisive look at a film personality and the intertwined threads of true and mythically accepted characteristics involved in creativeness.


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