ACF Critic Series #24: Cold War


Back to Pawel Pawlikowski: @FlaggTaylor and I have a companion piece to Ida Cold War, a romantic tragedy, which features a couple escaping from and then returning to the Iron Curtain. Whereas Ida is about divine love, this is merely human love. In both cases, the Polish past and totalitarianism are the most important concerns of the story. A deeply affecting movie about national memory and personal memory with special attention to what art and love can and cannot do. A remarkable performance by Joanna Kulig. The beautiful black-and-white cinematography of Lukasz Zal (which earned him an Oscar nomination), as well as heartbreaking Polish folk songs.The movie won the Palme d’Or in Cannes as well as the director prize — it was nominated for three big Oscars, too.


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  1. EtCarter Inactive
    Thankyou, Mr. Techera. I have learned to appreciate many things in film via your show. This one is especially interesting fro myself.

    • #1
  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Thanks for the kind words. We take it as our job to show people what & how to love, according to the preferences of each. If you can help us out by a itunes rating/review, or sharing our podcasts with people, or  both, you have our thanks!

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  3. WI Con Member
    WI Con

    It’s playing locally here. Think I may see if wife want to go tonight. Thanks Titus

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  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    WI Con (View Comment):

    It’s playing locally here. Think I may see if wife want to go tonight. Thanks Titus

    You’re very much welcome. It’s a beautiful film!

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  5. Jim Beck Inactive
    Jim Beck

    Morning Titus,

    My experience with my Russian acquaintances from that time was that no one was allowed to leave if they were thought to be a defection risk.  Also the content of artistic work was decided by the party.

    The man and the woman are models of confusion about God, and about their identities.  If you recall, Paul Tripp observes that if your worldly identity eclipses your identity as a child of God, that identity will hurt you.  So when he imagines that his truest identity is that as an artist and she feels that her identity is grounded exclusively in Poland, they are either omitting God’s presence and control of life, or they are imagining a God who has a rather remote place in life.  They also seem to have placed their devotion on worldly hopes, freedom, artistic success, love; this is idolatry, and of course idolatry always leads folks astray.  They act as if God is uniformed about the darkness of the human cruelty, either in one’s family or at the hands of vicious ideologies, and because they think God is absent, they decide that they must take things into their own hands.  This misguided independence leads to using other people as a means to and end, (not virtuous, little joke) to hurt each other or satisfy their physical needs, or to get your man out of jail.  Were the problems too big for God, of course not. Lastly their suicide, is a statement of despair and not one of faith, which says we are so lost that even God can’t redeem us.  IN talking about Judas, Pope Benedict commented that Judas’s despair was a great mistake, and that even Judas could have been redeemed.  I doubt that Pawlikowski was focusing on man’s chronic confusion about God’s nature and doubt about God’s power, I hope I have not torqued his story too much in my interpretation.

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  6. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    He’s a Catholic guy. His other recent, big success movie’s about faith. I think he’d say, you leave far too little of man’s life in his own hands, a matter of his own responsibilities, but I doubt that he’d deny that these guys are confused. He might instead answer, who isn’t?! One way to look at it, they’re Americans in a non-American world. Another way is, modern freedom, even in its moment of heroic stand against Soviet godless atheism, isn’t enough to guide people… Of course, I, too, may be twisting the man’s arm in impersonating him…

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