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Life As a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease

Krzysztof Zanussi
Poland 2000 / 105’

After the premiere of Life as... critics wrote of the master's come-back and Marcel Łoziński, a member of the jury at the Gdańsk festival, describes it as an excellent renewed debut. Zanussi returns to a personal, quiet and emotional tone of cinema expression, to eschatological issues Zanussi once referred to in Spiral and to his former character: a contemporary Polish intellectual, mature and terribly cynical, played - as before - by Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. Life as... is a story about Tomasz Berg, a doctor who suffers from an incurable disease himself. The imminence of death changes the main character's attitude. On the one hand it allows him insolent and unpunished sincerity to everybody (including his superiors) and on the other - it teaches him transcendence. Berg's dying is shown in a straightforward way: physiologically, and yet somehow it remains an encounter with the sacred sphere. Berg is a pronounced atheist and yet his atheism is full of doubts; it turns out to be mask and disappears confronted with the end.In the background we follow the story of a medical student and his girlfriend, developed by the director in his next film, The Supplement (2002). The two meet with Berg by incident and the encounter is very fruitful.

Mirella Napolska

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