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Murder (1957)

Morderstwo (original title)

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The camera shows us a door handle and the door's striker plate; from this angle, they form a cross. The door opens and in steps someone in a dark trench coat. He approaches a bed in the ... See full summary »

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The camera shows us a door handle and the door's striker plate; from this angle, they form a cross. The door opens and in steps someone in a dark trench coat. He approaches a bed in the room, where a shirtless man sleeps. The intruder takes out a knife. His movements are without haste, but deliberate and efficient. Will his sleeping victim awake in time to offer resistance? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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November 1988 (Italy)  »

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Murder  »

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This was Roman Polanski's first completed student short at the State Film School in Lodz, Poland. A story told in almost total darkness and in one room, the film introduces themes he revisited throughout his career. See more »

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Murderer
6 July 2007 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

If you're interested in seeing the origins of a master, Polanski's Morderstwo won't disappoint. In spite of its being a student piece, it is actually more typically Polanski than many of his subsequent shorts.

The thing that stands out most about Polanski is his ability to manipulate space. Hitchcock could create tension out of nothing, Polanski can create a feeling of confinement out of nothing. Morderstwo is just a minute long and nothing happens other than a quick yet frenzied murder, but the overwhelming impression is one of an enclosed suffocating space, with the plain, windowless room, shot in indistinct slightly-too-close-ups. The eponymous murderer himself virtually fills the screen and creates an extra wall between camera and subject.

As is the case with several of Polanski's shorts, Morderstwo is less a short film in its own right, and looks something like a snippet from a full-length feature. It's clearly nothing more than a student assignment, and probably served no other purpose than to help Polanski get to grips with a few basics. Today it has no real value than to film buffs interested in the early development of one of the best filmmakers of his generation.

On a side note, I had a chuckle at the IMDb plot summary for this, which tries to build it up into some kind of suspenseful thriller. Talk about making something out of nothing!


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