The Constant Factor | Constans (1980) | Kinoteka 2015 |

April 9th, 2015
Author: Meredith Taylor

DIR: Krzysztof Zanussi

Tadeuz Bradecki, Zofia Mrozowska, Malgorazata Zajaczkowska, Cezary Morawski

98min  Drama  Polish with Subtitles

Krzysztof Zanussi explores the life of a man drowning in a personal and political nightmare. Witold (Tadeusz Bradecki) is young and idealistic. With his affinity for mathematics he tries to understand the world with ready made formulas, which work only on paper. Constantly fighting corruption and bribery in his workplace makes him  unpopular and he is relegated to an industrial job. The only person who he relates to is his mother and when she becomes ill and goes into hospital, he doggedly insists on a private room. A good-natured nurse, Grzyna, takes pity on him but it is too late: Witold’s mother is suffering from incurable cancer. The more Witold applies his logic, the more life points to death as the only “constant factor”. Not surprisingly, Witold is obsessed by his father, who died climbing in the Himalayas. Joining a climbing expedition to Nepal, he half-heartedly complies with the corrupt system – only to be cheated, in an ironic twist and tragedy soon follows.

Zanussi’s Poland is a drab and decaying picture of alienation and Witold’s rebellion is shown by the distance between him and the other protagonists, apart from his mother. Even when embracing Grzyna, the camera finds a little place, where the light falls in, to show Witold’s distance. Sometimes Zanussi’s humour is very provocative: when Witold is in India, he talks to an American business man who talks about upward mobility: “If the Indians work hard, they can go to New York, just like we can come here. You see, everyone has a choice just like you”. Witold replies with a simple “no’ and leaves the man standing. THE CONSTANT FACTOR is a very honest film, realist in it’s bleak and . Witold carries on in his dream like state, his equations leading nowhere. Death, follows, him where ever he goes, without touching him, but isolating him more and more.

THE CONSTANT FACTOR | 9 APRIL AT KINOTEKA 2015

 

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