If you have any sort of a watch on the art film circuit, you will have read all about “Cold War” months ago when it started snaffling up awards at film festivals just about everywhere that matters
I know one guy who saw it at the Sydney Film Festival months ago and who hasn’t shut up about it since. So, if you’re one of those people you can give this review a miss and get on with your busy important life. Because I doubt you’l find much here to enrich your life and make your nostril hairs grow down into your mouth and entangle themselves in your teeth
Then again you may not be one of the anointed ones of the cinema world, and you may not have a hankering after hirsute teeth and in your boring normality simply be wondering whether a black-and-white-love story, where no-one gets shot and there are no car chases is worth going to the movies to see on the big screen. I can answer that question simply and vehemently:
The story of “Cold War is actually pretty simple, but after you’ve seen it, you find that it’s rather like an Origami unicorn- Really goddam beautiful in the way its put together out of such a deceptively simple basic ingredients.
This Polish guy meets this Polish girl in Poland in 1949, four years after the holocaust mincing machne of World War2 Ininished with Poland, leaving a country where literally everyone had a massive case af Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When this guy meets the girl he is busy assembling a Folkdance and song group for the powers that be out of whatever people he can find. The girl turns up in a job lot from what looks to be a prison, there is talk that ahe has killed her husband, but in Poland after the war nobody cares much. Pretty much everybody has killed somebody and the collective urge to forget is strong. In any event the sheer energy exhibited by these two lights up the screen with a passion I have rarely, if ever seen before. Between these two, I don’t think I have ever seen two actors on screen more convincingly in love. From the first moment they lay eyes on eachother the feelings manifest the same solidity a a blacksmith’s anvil in a telephone box. It is truly a wonderful thing of beauty to behold. The years pass. They remain in love in the most delightfully intelligently cultured European way. This is not some shallow childish love of immature testimonials. This is the first time I have seen real profound love represented on screen. Due to events beyond their control they are split up for a few years. They meet by chance in a street in Paris. In the Hiatus one of them has married someone else. The other doesn’t care. Idea such as “sexual infidelity are too infantile to stand up to the passion they feel for each other. If you’ve never experienced such a love in your life, I feel sorry for you. “Cold War will make you wish that such a relationshipwould come your way, and, more importantly that you be strong enough to cope with it when it did. Seriously, over the years I’ve seen lots of love stories, from “Romeo and Juliet” to “ The Greatest Showman.” From “ A new Leaf” to “The Piano Teacher” and no matter how good And all these films are definitely that, they don’t encapsulate the same incendiary craziness that has all too infrequently consumed my life , ultimately leaving me a guttered wreck. I’ll say this for it though, as bleak as the ending of “Cold War” is; at least its a happy bleak.- Unreservedly recommended
(C) Alex Rieneck 2019