Order means a continuous battle with chaos. Writer-director Krzysztof Zanussi’s grave, mysterious Zycie jako smiertelna choroba przenoszona droga plciowa revolves around Dr. Tomasz Berg (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, tremendously moving), who is dying of lung cancer, casting him in double roles: doctor, patient; observer, one who experiences; nonbeliever (“ . . . grace has bypassed me”), yet […]

THE BALANCE (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1974)

Released in the States as A Woman’s Decision, Bilans kwartalny—literally, Quarterly Balance, a.k.a. The Balance—is writer-director Krzysztof Zanussi’s harsh, detailed portrait of life in Communist Poland.      Marta Sieminska (Maja Komorowska, superb) is a middle-aged accountant in a state office and a union representative, in which capacity she supports a co-worker suspected of embezzlement. The film […]

ILLUMINATION (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1972)

Writer-director Krzysztof Zanussi’s early Illuminacja is autobiographical. Its protagonist, Franciszek Retman, is a graduate student in physics because he wants to know, he tells the university interviewing board, “things that are certain, unequivocal.” Zanussi himself studied physics at the University of Warsaw. But things changed for him. He proceeded to loftier intellectual ground, studying philosophy […]

AT FULL GALLOP (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1996)

Krzysztof Zanussi’s autobiographical Cwal centers on Hubert, a young teenager in the country. When his father defects to the West, Hubert’s mother is summoned to an interrogation. The familiar way this scene would be shot would have the pair anxiously waiting for their turn to enter the Party official’s office. Zanussi upsets our expectation. Someone […]