L’Amour FUBAR

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Zulawski’s SZAMANKA — translates, sort of, as SHAMANESS. His return to Poland after several years making movies in France and elsewhere. Completely bananas. Sometimes a strong central performance anchors a Zulawski film to some kind of relatable reality. Sometimes it blasts it off into space. In SZAMANKA, our attention is split between the male and female leads, and he’s rather dislikable — the critique of macho intended by Zulawski and his young female screenwriter comes across fairly strongly. The teenage actress cast as female lead delivers a compendium of Zulawski tics and fits, which alienates us a bit more than is perhaps wise. I admire Zulawski’s ability to get actors to go to insane extremes, but I also like it when he works with Sophie Marceau and you actually see human behaviour you recognize.

Zulawski’s discovery, Iwona Petry, with whom he enjoyed a somewhat stormy collaboration, at times seems to be channelling Isabelle Adjani in POSSESSION, which gives the crazy effects a second-hand feeling, despite the wild imagination on display throughout. As is generally the case with Zulawski, though, you’ll see a few things here you won’t see anywhere else… a shame that Hannibal Lecter borrowed so freely from the film’s climax…

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All Zulawski films feel valedictory, because he always seems to be burning his bridges, his reputation, his relationships, himself.

More on this marvellous maniac soon…

 

 

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2 Responses to “L’Amour FUBAR”

  1. chris schneider Says:

    Playwright Lanford Wilson: “And so at the top of the pages I was writing ‘Burn This,’ just to remind myself that whatever was on that page should be a little more daring than what I had been doing.”

    Perhaps, for Zulawski, that should be changed to “at the top of each shot”?

  2. Yeah, but I don’t know if he ever had to remind himself to push things further — maybe he just naturally directed at the top of his voice? Apparently the performance style he favoured was derived from a combination of Jerzy Grotowski and Voodoo ritual…

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