Escape From The ‘Liberty’ Cinema (1990) ***** Kinoteka 2013

March 8th, 2013
Author: Meredith Taylor

Escape From The ‘Liberty’ Cinema   (Ucieczka z kina ‘Wolnosc’)

Director/Script:  Wojciech Marczewski    

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41f-6lqo0LM

Cast:  Janusz Gajos, Michal Bajor, Artur Barcis, Aleksander Bednarz, Zygmunt Bielawski, Jerzy Binczycki, Henryk Bista, Monika Bolly

87min Poland           Surreal comedy.  Polish with subtitles              

 

Set just before Poland’s communism came to an end in 1989, Janusz Gajos plays a tired, middle-aged provincial cog in the machine, having long sold out his ideals as a poet and a writer to become one of the enemy; a regime censor.

Things remain stultifying until ‘Daybreak’, the dull, new film screening at the local cinema takes an unexpected turn when the actors in it elect to strike, refusing to adhere to the unedifying script, thereby directly confronting our hero, who has to scramble to sort out the mess. 

A brilliant idea, owing not a little to Bulgakov’s The Master & Marguerita and Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, but given a new spin here by Marczewski, has the town in a frenzy and the authorities in a spin as they try to work out how best to deal with this most surreal and unexpected of situations.

Gajos is perfect as the seasoned, divorced and disillusioned protagonist, well versed in the machinations of the hypocritical administration for which he works, in this supremely well-pitched and well-crafted satire of the times.

The supporting cast are also exemplary, especially Artur Barcis as the projectionist Aleksander Bednarz as Edward and Teresa Marczewska; a rich cast of strong character actors providing a secure comedy backdrop upon which to hang the central conceit.

1989 and Lech Wałęsa all seem like such a long time ago, as this snapshot from the past amply illustrates, in a time before mobile phones, when movie posters were hand-painted onto the cinema billboards, but it’s also worth noting that, as is so often the case, it often takes adversity to force creatives to come up with the truly brilliant over the merely pedestrian. One only needs to look at what’s currently on offer in the West End to realise this. Thoroughly recommended. AT

ESCAPE TO THE ‘LIBERTY’ CINEMA IS SHOWING DURING THE KINOTEKA POLISH FILM FESTIVAL 2013 IN LONDON, LIVERPOOL, BELFAST AND EDINBURGH 

Copyright © 2022 Filmuforia