Thursday 5 April 2012

The Scar (Blizna) [1976]

Polish giant Krzysztof Kieslowski made his transition from documentary filmmaking with the made-for-TV film Personel, and switched his allegiance to fiction filmmaking once and for all with his second feature, The Scar. Like most movies belonging to the first half of his career, this too had strong socio-political commentary, and like nearly all his films, it boasted of a terrific central performance by Franciszek Pieczka. A high-level political negotiation is held where various underhanded cajoling techniques are used to reach the decision that a large chemical factory shall be established at the small town called Olecko. Immediately heavy-duty bulldozers are used to clear large tracts of forest and forcefully shift people against their wishes, and Stefan (Pieczka), an honest and sympathetic person who used to reside at this place long time back, is appointed the Director of the project and subsequently that of the plant upon its commissioning. The societal pressures that Stefan faces from the disgruntled residents of the town (who, according to him, are more concerned about their short-term problems vis-à-vis the long-term and the larger benefits) as well as a journalist with whom he builds a strange kinship, and the ones he faces from the political behemoths, were nicely juxtaposed with his personal issues. His wife has bad memories about her past experiences from living at this place and hence refuses to accompany him, while his daughter has problems of her own and has various ideological differences with him. This was one of Kieslowski’s lesser films given the kind of masterpieces he would go on to make, but it formed an excellent introduction to the various themes that would recur in his subsequent works.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Political Drama
Language: Polish
Country: Poland


Sam Juliano said...

It may well be a "lesser" Kieslowski as you note here, but it's still one that sets the groundwork for the kind of concerns Kieslowski persued in his great masterpieces. As always you have written with exceptional authority.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. I used the word "lesser" only because it was coming from someone like Kieslowski as on its own its a pretty good film alright. And yes, as you noted, it does form an excellent precursor to his more groundbreaking masterpieces.