Cold War, Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski, France/Poland/UK, 2018, 88mins, Polish with English subtitles
Paweł Pawlikowski follows his Oscar-winning Ida with the stunning Cold War, an epic romance set against the backdrop of Europe after World War II. Sumptuously shot in luminous black and white, it spans decades and nations to tell a love story as tragic as it is moving, and as transportive as it is honest.
In the ruins of postwar Poland, Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig) fall deeply, obsessively and destructively in love. As performing musicians forced to play into the Soviet propaganda machine, they dream of escaping to the creative freedom of the West. But when they spot their chance to make a break for Paris, both make a decision that will mark their lives forever. As the years progress, Wiktor and Zula watch the world change around them, always struggling to find their moment in time.
Winner of the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival 2018, Pawlikowski melds the personal with the political to exquisite effect. Set to a soundtrack that encompasses the rustic folk songs of rural Poland and the sultry jazz of a Paris basement bar, it’s a wistful and dreamlike journey through a divided continent, and a heartbreaking portrait of ill-fated love.