94 minutes, Poland, 1962, Subtitled, Black and White, D-Cinema

Propelled by suspense, intrigue and Krzysztof Komeda’s unsurpassable jazz score, Knife in the Water, Polanski’s feature debut, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1963, losing out only to Fellini’s . As well as marking the beginning of an important collaborative relationship with Komeda, a fully qualified doctor by trade, who Polanski would work with again on Cul-de-sac (1966) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968), the film also features a script co-written by Jerzy Skolimowski, another Polish prodigy, and a director in his own right who went on to produce such celebrated films as Deep End (1970) and Moonlighting (1982).

As if all this isn’t enough, the story itself, of a bored bourgeois couple who invite an unnamed hitchhiker to join them for a trip on their small yacht, is as gripping and sharp as they come.

This film is showing as part of the IFI’s Focus on Roman Polanski (January 4th – 26th).

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