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2 items from 2016

Toronto Film Review: ‘Blindness’

21 September 2016 12:42 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The tense, metaphysical drama “Blindness” finds 73-year-old Polish writer-director Ryszard Bugajski (“Closed Circuit”) still working at the height of his powers and revisiting some of the same themes and situations of his harrowing masterpiece “Interrogation.” In “Blindness,” he visualizes a 1962 meeting between Julia Prajs Brystygier (Maria Mamona, stellar), the sadistic head of Department V in the Stalinist-era Ministry of Information who was in charge of persecuting the clergy, and the Polish Primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński (Marek Kalita), a man whose 1953 arrest she facilitated. Remarkable for its ability to put viewers inside the head of its complicated protagonist, “Blindness” is a high quality, old-style arthouse drama that will be most appreciated offshore by older, educated viewers.

By 1962, Brystygier, one of the most infamous people in post-war Poland, has tried to remake her life. She works at a publishing house and has even written a novel. But at the age of 59, a mental crisis strikes, »

- Alissa Simon

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[Tiff Review] Zacma: Blindness

9 September 2016 3:00 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

The roles have been reversed for Julia Brystygier (Maria Mamona), the once powerful colonel in the Ussr’s Ministry. She interrogated countless enemies of the state, namely Catholics who rejected the communist concepts ruling them. The human body was her canvas, torture her paintbrush — nothing was out of bounds as far as acquiring the information she sought. But that was years ago. Now she’s a private citizen like the masses trying to survive. A lucky one too considering many of her superiors during that period are now in jail or dead for the crimes they committed. Julia’s prison is therefore self-imposed. Where confidence and control used to reside is now only fear, guilt, and regret. Her solitary hope for salvation becomes forgiveness from a God she doesn’t believe exists.

Ryszard Bugajski‘s Zacma: Blindness opens on an empty apartment, phone incessantly ringing to cut through the silence. »

- Jared Mobarak

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2 items from 2016

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