IMDb > The Lamp (1959)

The Lamp (1959) More at IMDbPro »Lampa (original title)


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Roman Polanski (writer)
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In waning winter light, a doll maker works in his shop, a kerosene lamp beside him, a jumble of dolls and doll parts... See more » | Add synopsis »
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not too sure why Polanski doesn't like this one, unless for purely obsessive reasons See more (6 total) »


  (in alphabetical order)

Roman Polanski ... A passer-by (uncredited)

Directed by
Roman Polanski 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Roman Polanski  writer

Cinematography by
Krzysztof Romanowski  (as K. Romanowski)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Adam Holender .... assistant director (as A. Holender)
Andrzej Kostenko .... assistant director (as A. Kostenko)
Vasil Mirchev .... assistant director (as W. Mirczew)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Lampa" - Poland (original title)
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Poland:8 min
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Roman Polanski does not like this short film and is said to omit it from his filmography.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in L'armadio (2002)See more »


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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
not too sure why Polanski doesn't like this one, unless for purely obsessive reasons, 14 November 2006
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

The Lamp, apart of the short films collection on the Criterion DVD of Knife in the Water, distills a lot of the great visual madness and absurdism in his films into one silent short film. It's a really quick punch of 'why not' movie-making, where there is a sense of total control over the movement of the camera, and where it rests on its life-less (yet somehow lifelike) subjects. Maybe Polanski didn't end up liking it for a reason that, as a fellow filmmaker myself, I can understand. The subject matter here is very thin- a guy who makes dolls makes one, leaves, and the place gets set on fire when a fuse burns out. How to film it must have seem like the challenge to the director, and I could maybe see where he must have obsessed over the pans and direct close-ups of the angles. There was a lot of work put into it, so at the least it's hard to call it a half-assed attempt at making something out of little. But taking aside the director's own take on the material, I have to say that it really struck me how instinctual all of the movements and angles felt, and also how the design of what was there was dead-on. The dolls are just there, but there's a spooky tone to it too, a kind of underbelly that is reached in the darker parts of the room, mainly when the owner leaves and things are left in a noir-like tone. I loved seeing the close-up of the fuse itself too, which looked almost robotic in its stature, and also in hearing the crazy sound effects, as if out of a horror movie or something. It's basically like that, a horror movie only with dolls and a cuckoo clock in place of teenagers and such. It's a superb little shot of 8 minutes on film- and truly a kind of 'film-film', one that should be shown in most film classes to get an idea of what can be done with the camera if given the chance to use it over digital.

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