|Index||5 reviews in total|
Absolutely amazing! I never predicted that this very serious and thoughtful film could have been so great! This is a very difficult work of Mr. Wajda, here you will not see a bloody fight or an equestrian battle. Here, this is a very slow and philosophical story about false, double-faced, insincere and stupid life of actors. Their life is never true, it is all one endless play, false and puffy. All the heroes talk about unnamed actor who finally died on a train accident, and even his death became a show. Everything there is a show - love, death, tears, words, feelings. You feel a strange vapid, tasteless feel during the film but that is what Wajda exactly intended to achieve. This strange and unending boredom never leaves you, but this is a real feat to make a boredom look like a masterwork. I do recommend this movie for all who think that actors may be even a bit sincere. No, they cannot. This film proves it.
Although perhaps not widely considered as one of Wadja's better films, it would be superb if it were the work of a lesser director. Aside from being interesting and unique look into the world behind the camera, this film is so much more. The personal nature of the film shines through and one cannot help but respect the thoughtful way in which Wadja created this homage to Zbigniew Cybulski. There are so many wonderful nuances in this film that it is difficult to relate or even absorb them all. One of the most prominent themes in the film that stood out was the blending of reality and fiction. Wadja seems to develop this theme throughout the film in relation to developing the characters and the reality in which they live. However, that's just my opinion and it's quite possible that I am grossly misinterpreting that aspect of the film. But that said, it's an amazing film and if you like Wadja's other work, it's a very slim possibility that you will not like this one. Unfortunately it's difficult to get a hold of, but if you have the opportunity to get it, I would recommend (for whatever that's worth) that you not pass it up.
I absolutely love this movie! It is not a straight, easy and
predictable story. It is a multi layered story, with words unsaid and
actions unfinished. Wajda forces a viewer to use her/his imagination
and fill in the blanks.
I remember, when I saw this movie for the first time in Poland, I found it annoying. I was young then. Now, that I am a mature woman, living in the USA, and knowing two very different cultures of two different countries, I enjoy this movie. It is so different than all the other movies. For the same reason I love Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique." Do not expect the "usual and ordinary" from this movie and you might love it too!
I totally agree with Denis888. I just want to add, for those who don't
quite understand it, that actors and other movie makers here play
themselves (look at credits). Do they play, or is this who they really
are? That is the question. I think, they were too serious about the
Stanislavsky's method. All of them were celebrities at that time, so
many details of their life were a common knowledge in Poland, and as
such were not explained in the movie. Also the person of the absent
main character Zbigniew Cybulski one of the biggest stars of Polish
cinema. His exploits were known very well to general public and were
subject of widely spread gossip. He died crushed when trying to jump
into moving train, exactly in the way shown in the initial scene of the
movie. This scene still gives me goose bumps, 'cause I still remember
hearing the tragic news from the radio. Showing this scene so soon
after his death took a lot of courage, and was very controversial at
that time. Unfortunately, just like majority of Polish movies, it is so
much set in specific local Polish reality, and not very transparent to
viewers who don't know much about Polish history, and current events,
particularly those behind the scene.
I watched this film recently with my 27 y.o. son who currently studies film in college. He was impressed by general idea, camera work and other technical matters, but could not really grasp all the flavor and spice of the movie without extensive explanation of the background events and details about lives of main movie characters.
So, to really grasp it, you need to learn about Polish cinema milieu in 60's. If the behavior of few characters in this movie seems to be somewhat strange, remember that most of these people were survivors of the war were 20% of Polish population was killed, and after the war they were subjected to Stalinist terror. They did not have psychologist to treat their post-traumatic stress disorder. A lot of Wajda work is about people dealing with their demons and different forms adjustment to the new reality. This is one about filmmakers and actors.
A friend of mine developed an interest in Wajda, and since I'm the one
with a DVD player, the honor of helping him pursue that interest fell
to me. The first film we saw, "Man of Marble" seemed to justify that
interest. But the second trip, "Everything For Sale" was a real dead
end. About forty minutes into it, my friend decided it was too
difficult to deal with, and so we turned it off.
One of the main problems here is that Wajda seems more interested in evoking moods than dramatizing events. If, at the forty-minute mark, a film is still making you guess about who and what the characters are to each other, then at the very least, the writer/director's reasons for doing so should be clear. In "Everything For Sale," Wajda is playing a Pirandellian game with the camera lens as the stage's fourth wall -- but this game is no fun for the viewer.
The second main problem is that other stylistic derivatives (most notably Antonioni and "Blow Up) are so blatant as to be irritating. The scene where everybody becomes mesmerized on the whirligig could be played as well either on purple paper or with an invisible tennis ball. And by the time this film was made (albeit in Poland) all of the "swinging sixties" visual and cultural references are so dated as to be laughable. (A wild party sequence recalls a similar one from "Midnight Cowboy" with the difference that in the latter film the sequence made dramatic sense.) Which leads to the third and most serious problem -- the characters do not behave in any way that bears directly on reality or the challenges we are being told they are facing. They are so eccentrically bizarre in their behavior (particularly the Elzbieta character) as to be off-putting. At the same time the movie was telling me that I needed to know more about these people, it was also having the effect of making me not want to. The urge to stop watching was much stronger. Perhaps if I had stuck it out I would feel different. But it was too difficult to deal with.
This movie was probably not a cultural cliché when it first came out. It probably took a whole week from its release for that to happen -- as with "Zabriskie Point." My advice to you is that if you want a rehash of Antonioni with a really convincing Polish flavor, rent "La'venturra" and watch it while eating a kielbasa.
This is early Wajda. He does get better. But you can safely skip "Everything For Sale."
ADDED: From another comment on this film I learn that it is intended to be an homage to Zbigniew Cybulski who was the lead actor in Wajda's even earlier work "Ashes and Diamonds" a film that received wide acclaim. I have this film on order. perhaps if I had been familiar with the actor and the earlier film, "Everything For Sale" might have made more sense to me. As it is, I came to it cold and it left me cold. But seeing "Ashes and Diamonds" could prompt a second viewing of "Everything For Sale." I'm not saying it will -- but it could.
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