Pornography, 2003

Unfolding with the deceptively lyrical and darkly comic surrealism of a diluted Emir Kusturica, Pornography, a film based on a novel by Witold Gombrowicz, is the powerful and haunting tale of an acutely sensitive and enigmatic, middle-aged artist named Frederic (Krzysztof Majchrzak) who, as the film begins, has returned to a luxury hotel in German-occupied Poland after a long absence – carrying a suitcase that he describes as paradoxically containing ‘nothing’ and ‘everything’ – idly waiting, along with the other privileged and distinguished clientele, for the end of the war. Befriending a genial writer (and the narrator of the film) named Witold (Adam Ferency), the two travel to the country to visit the rural estate of Witold’s friend Hippolyte (Krzysztof Globisz), and in the process, become increasingly implicated in the dangerous – and increasingly inhumane – resistance activities of the idyllic village. Jan Jakub Kolski photographs the film in yellow-green hues and uses recurring ground level tracking shots and isolated, behavioral observations of animals and insects (reminiscent of Shohei Imamura’s The Insect Woman) that heighten the somber unnaturality of the film’s tone and reinforces the instinctuality and desperation of wartime existence.

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