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The Unapproachable

Krzysztof Zanussi
West Germany 1982 / 86’

A TV production based on a one-act play by Zanussi and Żebrowski. The narrative of this chamber film is slightly similar to Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder: the main character is an aging but still beautiful former star. The whole plot lasts several hours, showing an unexpected "visit" by a young man whom she doesn't know and who was allegedly assaulted in the street. The two characters play a strange, ironic game of conventions, pretences, emotions and there is a thin line between intimacy and playing 'who will outwit the other'. He says he's a student, a painting fan, a photograph artist then. He is a timid admirer and then he turns into a daring lover. But finally it is she, whose profession was acting.

The actress who turns away from the world is played by Leslie Caron, a former Hollywood star, whose debut was the famous An American in Paris (1951, directed by Vincente Minnelli). For Zanussi, this play of truth and lies is an opportunity to ask questions about ethics in media, about crossing the line of privacy, about attitudes toward the inevitable passing of time. And in the background - namely on the wall- there's a painting by Canaletto, like Chekhov's gun.

Mirella Napolska

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