The critic for The Washington Post describes Cold War as a near-perfect movie. While I would not go that far, it is a fascinating, star-crossed love story behind the Iron Curtain from 1949-1969. Filmed in black-and-white, with subtitles, you can see this Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee on Amazon Prime March 22. The music is not Pat Boone, not Elvis Presley, certainly not Buddy Holly, but impressive nonetheless. I give this movie 4 Gavels; it has a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating and 84% Audience score.
In 1949 Poland, the Communist Party opens a school of music and dance to celebrate the rich history of peasant music. Teen Zula catches the eye of the instructor,Wiktor. Soon she is front and center as the lead singer/dancer, and l’affaire begins. Within a few years, the group is touring the major cities of Eastern Europe and ordered to sing songs of the Revolution. Chafing under the control of the Party, they decide to escape to the West. Decisions made that night will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Joanna Kulig (Zula) puts on a performance that should propel her to international fame. From her coquettish youth through sultry adulthood, the camera fixates on her. Tomasz Kot (Wiktor) matches Kulig’s intensity, their pairing sizzling across the screen.
Once again, this will not be a movie for everyone. But if you like history, music, travel, even exploring different cultures, I think you will enjoy Cold War. What sacrifices would you make for your once-in-a-lifetime true love? Zula and Wiktor make some bad decisions, but you never doubt their smoldering passion for each other. Not quite Romeo and Juliet here, but a story that will grab you. Not sure what these foreign directors are doing with black-and-white filming (see Roma), but this one feels right. The times, and the emotions, rightfully drain the colors.