Poland is under communist rule. An exiled Polish theater director is in England, enthusiastically preparing an abstract play which will criticize the authoritarian Polish government. His sons might not share his political views, though.
Based on satirical short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about a vain, egotistical Etienne Gerard, a French brigadier serving during the Napoleonic Wars. He thinks he's the best soldier and lover that ever lived and intends to prove it.
In 1840, a young Russian aristocrat, Dimitri Sanin, is returning home after a long tour of Europe. In Germany, he falls in love with a beautiful pastry shop girl, Gemma Rosselli, who soon ... See full summary »
Censored by the Polish authorities, this film was reedited and new footage added. It begins with a sci-fi motif: abstract images and electronic music take the viewer from ruins of Lebanon ... See full summary »
On the death of his parents, Frank, a romantic teenager, moves in with his aunt and uncle He quickly falls in love with his beautiful, sophisticated aunt, Martha, and begins to fantasize ... See full summary »
Bored while officiating a cricket match at a psychiatric hospital, Crossley tells Graves (a visitor) the tale of a mysterious stranger (also named Crossley) who invades the lives and home of a local musician and his wife. The stranger claims knowledge of real magic, which he uses to displace his host and dominate his wife. The musician must find a way to combat Crossley and his seemingly implacable powers. Graves doubts Crossley's claim that the story is true, and begins to believe that Crossley is actually one of the patients. Written by
An utterly bewitching and fantastical film from the great Polish-born filmmaker Jerzy Skolimoski. An "abnormal" mental patient, Crossley (Alan Bates), tells a story of himself, which may or may not be true, to a young, confused looking Tim Curry during a mental institution run cricket match. He tells of how he self-imposed his way into the home of an experimental musique concrète composer, Anthony (John Hurt), who records all sorts of fascinating sounds and noises and then manipulates them with his mini-studio of electronic equipment, and his wife Rachel (Susannah York). Inside the flashback/flash forward/flash sideways, he tells them of a unique ability he has perfected, which he learned from an aboriginal medicine man while living in the Australian outback. It seems he can perform a shout that will kill anyone within a surrounding radius. He demonstrates "The Shout" to Anthony and unknowingly kills a local farmer. His presence in Anthony's home quickly becomes awkward and unwanted but he continues to force his stay with intimidation. He uses his mysterious mystical abilities to entrance Rachel into becoming almost rabid for him, and taunts Anthony with his conquest and powers. Anthony, humiliated and overpowered in his own home and life, searches desperately for a way to defeat Crossley; searches for the source of his "soul".
Skolimowski uses the music and sounds that are recorded by John Hurt's character on screen (in real life made by Rupert Hine) as the metaphysical soul to this cinematic nightmare; similar in the ways David Lynch uses sound design as both an audio and visually integral mood stabilizing component in his nightmare-dream poems, or how Nicolas Roeg uses fractured time and images to a disorientating, hypnotic effect. In fact, it feels very analogous to a Roeg film. Highly recommended.
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