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The Year of Quiet Sun

Krzysztof Zanussi
Poland, West Germany, USA 1984 / 105’

The film's artistic success was highlighted by the Golden Lion at the Venice festival. For the first time this award went to a work by a Polish artist; this achievement was then repeated only by Krzysztof Kieślowski and his Three Colours: Blue. The main issue in The Year of the Quiet Sun is the sense - or absence of sense - of sacrifice, suffering, and acceptance of defeat as a moral victory, but it is hidden in an almost melodramatic plot. The story I am telling is true. I heard it at a meeting with an audience in Silesia - Zanussi wrote. The moving story about the love of two bitterly experienced people is set in 1946 on the Polish Recovered Territories in post-war gloomy chaos. Emilia, a Polish aristocrat displaced from the East together with her mother has recently lost her husband. She meets Norman, an American soldier, and former prisoner of a concentration camp. They understand each other in spite of the language and culture barriers. To start a new life, they need only to cross the border illegally...

The film was shown at cinemas in Poland only after its success in Venice and it was not appreciated either by audiences or by the press. It was the official Polish candidate for the Oscars, but, as the director recalls, it was withdrawn at the last moment after the intervention of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party.

Mirella Napolska

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