After Hours

Cold War: Pawlikowski targets second Oscar

It’s been a great year for Polish cinematography, especially in regards to international recognition. Clergy (Kler), directed by Wojciech Smarzowski became an international hit and broke all Polish box office records.

Yet the country’s crowning glory on the silver screen goes to Cold War (whose Polish title is Zimna wojna), directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, with Mr Pawlikowski taking home the award for Best Director.

“Paweł Pawlikowski’s love letter to his parents is a sweeping tale of passion and politics set in the shadow of the iron curtain,” wrote Mark Kermode for The Guardian.

Following on from its success at Cannes, the film also received the Golden Lion award at the 43rd Gydnia Film Festival.

“Pawlikowski is in complete control of the form, but this is no austere piece of work — he even finds time for a few good jokes. Accessible, humane and compassionate: what a treat this is,” said Andrew Lowry in Empire.

Adding to the film’s success, Cold War took home five gongs at the 31st European Film Awards, winning the title of Best Film, Best Director: Paweł Pawlikowski, Best Screenwriter: Paweł Pawlikowski, Best Actress: Joanna Kulig and Best Editor: Jarosław Kamiński.

In his acceptance speech at the European Film Awards, Mr Pawlikowski thanked his producers “because they didn’t want to make a film for commercial purposes, but to tell a story.” The film was loosely inspired by the lives of Mr Pawlikowski’s own parents, to which the film is dedicated. It was ranked fourth in Sight and Sound magazine’s list of the best films of 2018.

“I am a film historian and filmmaker, interested in the history and theory of cinema, as well as the technology behind the making of films. I specialise in European cinema, in particular, French film history,” says Mr Pawlikowski.

With all those awards firmly in hand, it is time to focus on the 91st Academy Awards. From a field of 87 submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film, nine have now advanced to the shortlist, which includes Cold War.

“…Cold War, is one of the best-reviewed films of 2018,” writes Wired.

As IMDB describes it, Cold War is “a passionate love story between two people of different backgrounds and temperaments, who are fatefully mismatched and yet condemned to each other. Set against the background of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris, the film depicts an impossible love story in impossible times.”

An Academy Award would be Mr Pawlikowski’s second win at the Oscars. He also won Best Foreign Film for his film Ida in 2015.

Cold War will have its theatrical release in the US on December 21.