|Michael Atkinson - 01/19/2009
List: The Best Straight-to-DVD Films of 2008
|Michael Atkinson - 10/01/2008
A contemporary of Andrzej Wajda who\'s little acknowledged in this country, Jerzy Kawalerowicz helped break the Polish New Wave in the mid-\'50s, but even within his underexamined filmography. 1956\'s \"Shadow\" is a mysterious and rarely discussed work, a lurking examination of collaborationism and resistance as it\'s expressed in an investigation into the identity of a dead man. The narrative encompasses three sequential stories of betrayal, two during WWII and one in the postwar now, all told by the men who were betrayed, and yet all three connected by the shadowy thread of a single duplicitous figure, a goldbricking nobody who just so happens to have controlled the secret narrative behind the stories we see. It\'s a complex feat of screenwriting, for sure, and Kawalerowicz\'s catapulting, pitch-dark visualizations don\'t go out of their way to makes us feel safe and omniscient. (The movie\'s restless docket of baroque post-noir images predates Wajda\'s \"Kanal\" and \"Ashes & Diamonds,\" and were clearly part of the zeitgeist.) We may well ask where has this strange, stealthy film been all these years? (It\'s never appeared here in any form before.) But you may have to watch it twice before the tendons of the plot reveal themselves to you.
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