films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


A Year of the Quiet Sun

Rok Spokojnego Slonca
1984 / 106m - Poland
Romance, War
A Year of the Quiet Sun poster

A rather stale and dry romantic drama that fails to conjure up the necessary emotion. The film feels a bit drab, performances are mediocre, the soundtrack has no impact and the drama is incredibly predictable. What remains is basic quality film making, that fails on every other level. A pretty disappointing film.

Behind the Wall

Za Sciana
1971 / 56m - Poland
Behind the Wall poster

One of Zanussi's earliest films, made for TV. It's a very (very) basic affair, so it's a good thing it's pretty short. Even then, it feels the film is stretched well beyond its breaking point. The black and white cinematography doesn't really work either, adding pretenses the film can't make good on.

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Jan is a young, ambitious assistant professor, who only cares about his work. Anna is a writer who has taken an interest in Jan, but he doesn't really have eyes for her. Anna isn't willing to give up that easily, and she forces a situation where they can spend more time together.

The setup could've been endearing, but the bland characters and grim cinematography don't really do much for the film. The endless dialogues aren't very exciting either. It's all just very plain and lifeless. It might be interesting for those who appreciate Eastern-European dramas and/or Zanussi completists.

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

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The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.