Monday 26 November 2012

Innocent Sorcerers [1960]

Celebrated Polish filmmaker Andrjez Wajda had explored the devastating effects of WWII on the country’s youth in his much acclaimed ‘War Trilogy’. In an interesting cinematic choice (which some had considered a major departure for him then, which I disagree with), he followed them up by focusing on the aimless, rootless and emotionally detached post-war generation – those who reached adulthood in the 60s – in the breezy, freewheeling, and delicately balanced, but largely under-watched film, Innocent Sorcerers. Bazyli (Tadeusz Lomnicki), a young, jaded doctor and drummer in a jazz-band, makes acquaintance with an alluring young lady called Pelagia (Krystyna Stypulkowska) at a smoky bar. Though a womanizer, he tends to lose interest in girls who reciprocate his advances too easily; consequently, the enigmatic and independent-minded Pelagia catches his fancy. And, when after a night of intellectual and sexual one-upmanship in his tiny apartment, she leaves all of a sudden, he realizes that he’s fallen for her, and this compels him to wander around Warsaw hopelessly searching for her. Wajda brilliantly captured the mood and style of the youth, and zeitgeist of the era, through Bazyli, existing in a state of flux without any sense of direction, and his hip, cool, jazz-loving friends (which included Zbigniew Cybulski and Roman Polanski) who are interested in living only in the moment. Consequently, Pelagia’s arrival turns out to be a near life-alternating moment of truth for him. Electric chemistry between the leads, atmospheric photography and the jazz-based score excellently complemented the movie’s energetic yet existential tone. The ‘strip matchbox’ game that they play in the film, became a rage among those who watched it, including in Calcutta.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romantic Drama
Language: Polish
Country: Poland


Jon said...

Wow Shubhajit I've never even heard of this one. It looks great! I think it's right up my alley. I'm going to have to get it on my list of films to track down. Thanks! Nice work!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Jon. I'm really glad that I've managed to get you interested in this film. This is a gem for sure, waiting for more and more cinephiles to stumble upon it (as I fortunately did). I'd be eager to know your reactions once you've watched it.