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INNOCENT SORCERERS + KNIFE IN THE WATER (DOUBLE BILL)

Director: ANDRZEJ WAJDA & ROMAN POLANSKI


INNOCENT SORCERERS

FILM INFO: 83 minutes, Poland, 1960, Subtitled, Black and White, 35mm

Skolimowski was already a published young poet before meeting Poland’s leading post-war director, Andrzej Wajda, who showed him the script for Innocent Sorcerers. Legend has it that Skolimowski was critical of the screenplay’s lack of understanding of youth culture and Wajda invited him to do his own version. Most of the dialogue in Innocent Sorcerers belongs to Skolimowski, and indeed the whole setup – the bohemian atmosphere, the sense of alienation of the young people from their parents’ generation – provides an embryonic portrait of the director’s universe. Andrzej (Tadeusz Lomnicki) is a young doctor who plays jazz with his friends at night and has to fend off admiring females. He meets his match in a young woman (Krystyna Stypulkowska) with whom he ends up spending a night talking and playing games of seduction. Sporting an Elvis hairdo, legendary actor Zbigniew Cybulski plays one of Andrzej’s hipster friends, and there are also brief appearances by composer Krzysztof Komeda and Skolimowski.

KNIFE IN THE WATER

FILM INFO: 94 minutes, Poland, 1962, Subtitled, Black and White, 35mm

Skolimowski met Roman Polanski at film school in Lodz. The two became friends and Polanski recruited Skolimowski to co-script his debut feature, Knife in the Water, a tense drama in which a husband and wife pick up a student hitchhiker whom they have almost run over. Tensions develop when the student is invited to join the couple on their yacht. The older man wishes to show off before the student. More secretly, it is suggested he wishes to enliven a boring weekend routine and a fractious marriage. His exhibitionism and self-assurance crumple under events which make him uncertain whether the student, whom he has caused to fall off the yacht, has drowned or whether he has returned and seduced his wife. The film belongs to Polanski, but there are strong similarities with Skolimowski’s work, including the ‘generation barrier’ theme that’s personified in the conflicts between the older man and the young student. The terrific jazz score is by Krzysztof Komeda.

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