Paweł Pawlikowski’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning Ida retains that film’s screen format and crisp monochrome imagery to offer up a swooning account of love in a time of revolution.
It’s the 1950s and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) travels throughout Poland in search of voices to perform national folk songs as part of a Communist Party propaganda initiative. It’s at one of the auditions that he encounters the unruly Zula (Joanna Kulig). They fall in love and their tumultuous relationship unfolds across Europe over the course of the next two decades.
From the concert halls behind the Iron Curtain to the jazz cafes of Paris, Pawlikowski’s luminous romance has all the hallmarks of an enduring classic. Kulig is a magnetic presence, her performances capturing the spirit of the post-war jazz scene, while Kot’s shift between coolness and mania perfectly captures the creative impulse. And Pawlikowski’s decision to shoot in black and white and on Academy ratio is once again inspired – imbuing the film with a timeless quality.