Identification Marks: None (1965) Mubi

January 16th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Jerzy Skolimowski | Cast: Jerzy Skolimowski, Elzbieta Czyzweska, Tadeusz Minc, Andrzej Zarnecki, Jacek Szczek | 73min | Drama | Poland

Jerzy Skolimowski’s debut sparked off two sequels (Walkover and Hands Up!); he also plays the leading role of an aimless college dropout kicking through the final traces of freedom before being drafted into the army for military service. Ever the outsider, rather like his compatriot Polanski, Skolimowski explores the motives of his recalcitrant character Andrzej Leszczye who is living with his wife but keeping his options open with a series of other women, hanging around Lódz with his dog (who has contracted rabies, and has to be put down) before jumping on train with his other friends who have been conscripted to the army.

Only 23 at the time, the young filmmaker flexes his artistic muscles with tricks and creative flourishes honed during his final days at Lódz, and the result is here in pristine black and white. Well-made and beautifully edited by one-time feature editor Halina Szalinska, Identification Marks has a lively unstructured score by Krzysztof Sadowski and captures the footloose ennui of Poland’s postwar generation, pictured to perfection in this carefree chronicle of this final day of youth epitomising the Polish New Wave. Skolimowski incorporates some of the footage shot during film school, using stock provided and the skills of his college contemporaries at Lódz. Now, nearly sixty years later his latest EO is running for an Oscar. MT


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