Following this morning’s announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees, I realized that I have a lot of catching up to do. I decided to remedy that situation ASAP, starting with a screening of Cold War at Film Forum.
I adored Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski’s previous directorial effort, for its locked-off, static, almost claustrophobic compositions. The camerawork in this followup, however, is significantly looser and more kinetic. And that’s appropriate, considering the narrative is all about movement—whether it’s charting the progression of a traditional Polish folk song as it travels from a remote mountain village to a Parisian jazz club… or following two star-crossed lovers as they desperately pursue each other across the politically-turbulent landscape of Europe circa the 1950s and ‘60s.
The framing, too, is beautifully expressive, favoring tight closeups that isolate our protagonists and blur out the background, suggesting that—in their own minds, anyway—they’re the only people in the world that truly matter. Of course, passions that burn with such intensity often lead to disaster… but what a brilliant flame this particular pair produces!