Run time: 88 mins
An ode to exquisite jazz riffs and the bleak depths of post-war Europe, Cold War tracks an epic romance; passionate and deeply destructive in equal measure. Oscar-winning director (Ida 2013) Paweł Pawlikowski’s latest monochrome masterpiece is a poignant study of love across the Iron Curtain. Beginning in late-1940s Poland, a handsome musician Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and his (lover) colleague Irena (Agata Kulesza) are scouting talent for a folk music troupe. A blonde bombshell Zula (Joanna Kulig) recently out of prison after attacking her stepfather, stands out among the ordinary folk singers. With a sensual performance, Zula’s magnetic presence captures Wiktor’s interest, granting her a place within the musical ensemble and initiating their turbulent love affair. As the folk group become a Stalinist propaganda machine, travelling to East Berlin to perform, Zula must decide whether to defect to the West with Wiktor. Her decision determines the course of their future, artfully revealed to the audience in episodes across 1950s and 60s Paris, Yugoslavia and Poland. Cold War demonstrates how life is not simply black and white like the film’s cinematography, but coloured by the complexities of love and one’s political climate. (research Rachel Williams) Love in a cold-climate indeed. Stunning. A searing erotic beauty… Don’t miss.