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The Power of Evil

Krzysztof Zanussi
West Germany, Italy, France 1985 / 106’

The Power of Evil was inspired by an essay by Leszek Kołakowski, Czy diabeł może być zbawiony? (Can the devil be saved?). The treatise on the nature of evil is cloaked in a melodramatic criminal plot. A young student of theology is convinced that man's nature is good and hell is empty. He naively aspires to moral perfection, accepting tiny compromises at the same time. His acquaintance with a devilish manufacturer of weapons and philanthropist causes events to resemble a perverse game. Hubert gets involved in situations which prove him wrong - he discovers evil in himself. Even when his intentions are noble, he may commit deeds he never suspected he was capable of. The Biblical phrase that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light proves painfully true both for the individual and for the life of society. In The Power of Evil the social aspect of Satan is revolution. Zanussi recalls that after the premiere the leftist intellectuals, especially in Italy, were very irritated by this motif.

Mirella Napolska

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