Friday, February 12, 2016


Szamanka (1996) - Zulawski
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A feral engineering student, only known as Wloszka- the Italian (Iwona Petry), for her pizza making skills begins an intense physical relationship with Michal (Boguslaw Linda), an anthropology professor. Her uninhibited behavior and mannerism are somewhere between animalistic and schizophrenic, as she jerks back and forth on the street/in bed or slobbering on catfood on the floor or smearing red meat on her face. Michal somewhat connects Wloszka's manic energy to his new discovery, an ancient body of a yogi/shaman he dug up. The extensive tattoos on the back of his body from his tailbones to the head and missing of the back of his skull suggest that his brain is blown out by some physical ecstasy he experienced. Because of Wloszka's intense physical grip on him, Michal slowly descends into madness and loses his career and rich wife.

As usually the case with other Zulawski's obsessive love stories, the carnal desire and its profundity wins over the intellect. Iwona Petry's raw, unpolished performance brings another dimension to already towering Zulawski heroine mould. His jab at catholicism and visual metaphors (Wloszka works at a construction site with big machinary and meat factory and so on) are sometimes too unsubtle, but at the same time gives us some of the most striking images. Simple and honest, it might be the most thematically uncluttered Zulawski film I've seen so far.

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