Revisited - Krzysztof Zanussi
Krzysztof Zanussi's 2009 film "Rewizyta" / "Revisited" waited about eighteen months to hit the screens, enjoying its premiere at the start of 2011 as part of the major retrospective traveling between eight Polish cities - and then on to New York. In the film Zanussi explores three of his most important works from the 1970s, revisiting the characters in the pursuit of new answers to questions posed over three decades ago
The film spans a cinematic review of the director's films from the 1970s: Życie Rodzinne" / "Family Life, Barwy Ochronne" / "Camouflage and Constans. The philosophical Constans was awarded the jury prize at Cannes in 1980 and is considered an essential work for assessing the achievements of the director. The selection of these titles within the retrospective is not coincidental - Rewizyta's premise is based on the film-maker attempt to understand the messages of these films for the contemporary audience and how that message may have changed since the 1970s. The selection of these titles within the retrospective is not coincidental - the review's premise is based on the film-maker attempt to understand the messages of these films for the contemporary audience and how that message may have changed since the 1970s. On screen, Zanussi's altero ego is played by a character from the director's 2008 film Serce na Dłoni" / "And a Warm Heart. Following a failed suicide attempt, the director lens revisits the protagonists of the three films to ask them about the secret of a successful life. The characters do not seem to recall the events in question, presented in the form of flashbacks which are the starting triggers of the young man's questions regarding the essence of life..
The first impression suggests that Krzysztof Zanussi uses the film Rewizyta" / "Revisited to prematurely write down his last will and testament - as assessed by Tadeusz Sobolewski, reporting in Gazeta Wyborcza (July 31, 2009) at the pre-premiere screening at the Era New Horizons Festival.
According to the critic, Zanussi is still stuck in the subject of his previous films, only more mature and more convinced of his ability to know the secret to living a better life than others do. Or, rather, how one should live. Once one accepts Sobolewski's point of view, the primary nostalgia for cinema from 30-40 years ago is understood, as well as the depiction of everyday life back then. Life appears simpler then than it is today, not because that system provided more opportunities, but because films were able to put fundamental questions to the test. So if you consider cinema as a reflection of society and its ambitions, it turns out that despite all the oddities reported by Zanussi (understood literally and figuratively) of his characters, life was easier, because people yearned to ask questions and look for signs - questions completely absent in contemporary cinema. So is the ageing master (Zanussi was born in 1939) caught up with bitterness? Not necessarily.
Film reviewer Piotr Wojciechowski describes Rewizyta in Kino magazine (2 / 2011), proposing an approach to the film from a different angle. For him, the most important feature is its irony - seen in both the confrontation of past and present heroes of Zanussi films, as well as in the treatment of the topic. In comparison films from the 1970s, to which the director refers to in Rewizyta, perhaps the most important work from this period is missing, the author's trademark film - Illumination" / "Iluminacja. According to Wojciechowski:
Stefan (played by Marek Kudełka, the hero of "Serce na Dłoni") is like a younger brother to Franek Retman, a young physicist from the film "Illumination", the unforgettable creation of Staszek Latałły. The physicist in the film inquired about the meaning of matter, life, the world and eventually learned that wisdom is found more often in questions and rarely in the answers themselves, and that one in the end is certain - he will not be young forever. In "Rewizyta" an ex-philosopher, a boy with a smile as innocent as insolent, overlaps subsequent speakers with the intention to learn from their biographies, a strategic prescription to make his own life successful and just. This artificial, declarative excuse cancels itself out, as if a viewer wanted to ask - and really, what is he looking for here, what is going on?
Thus, more than three decades later, Krzysztof Zanussi remains a man with a movie camera. A man who asks questions and directs the camera lens towards those who may hold the answers. Interestingly, despite the burden of experiences that are imprinted on the faces of the actors (the premature death of Stanisław Latałły is probably the direct cause of the absence to return to Illumination), the answers to eternal questions are basically the same. Except that today's viewers do not always have the patience to listen to them.
- Rewizyta, Polska 2009. Written and directed by: Krzysztof Zanussi. Cinematography: Dariusz Kuc and Witold Sobociński (Życie rodzinne), Edward Kłosiński (Barwy ochronne), Sławomir Idziak (Constans), Adam Bajerski (Serce na dłoni). Music: Wojciech Kilar. Set design: Joanna Macha. Costumes: Karolina Sawicka. Editing: Urszula Śliwińska, Wanda Zeman, sound: Maria Chilarecka, Radosław Skłodowski. Starring: Maja Komorowska (Bella), Daniel Olbrychski (Wit), Jan Nowicki (Marek), Zbigniew Zapasiewicz (profesor Jakub Szelestowski), Małgorzata Zajączkowska (Grażyna), Tadeusz Bradecki (Witold). Production: Tor Film Studio. Co-financing: Polish Film Institute. Distribution: Studio Cinemas Network. Run time: 95 min. In cinemas starting January 10, 2011..
Author: Konrad J. Zarębski, January 2011. Translated by Roberto Galea, January 2011