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The Structure of Crystal

Krzysztof Zanussi
Poland 1969 / 76’

Exceptional and innovative, an intimate voice in the Polish cinema of the late 1960s - a film referring to the spirit of new wave, ostentatiously rough, with natural lighting, outdoor footage, improvised dialogues recorded live and an amateur in one of the leading roles. It was also a novelty in Polish film in those times to present intellectuals and their dilemmas on screen. Seemingly, nothing happens here and yet there is a lot happening - like in Chekhov's works. A lively plot is replaced by a confrontation of two approaches to life, which starts with a visit Marek pays to his former fellow student and friend, Jan. Marek chose professional development, career, dynamism and access to a consumer world (as was available in communist Poland), Jan chose to live a modest life in the country and to maintain his intellectual independence. Each of them gains something and loses something. Questions about the moral price of success, about cultivating or wasting one's talents, about all possible "to be or to have" are shown in the context of everyday trifles, of which Jan and Anna's life is composed - work, modest entertainment, jokes, banter.

The Structure of Crystal was usually seen as a film about the dilemmas of the contemporary intelligentsia, but now a mystical perspective and thus a certain way of film reception is distinctive.

Mirella Napolska

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