Jerzy Skolimowski (U.K., 1982)
Skolimowski’s impassioned response to the 1981 declaration of martial law in Poland, this “sly, affecting parable of Ordinary Bolshevism” (Time) was written, shot, and completed in only four months. Four Polish workers, led by the English-speaking Nowak (Jeremy Irons), arrive in London to renovate illegally a Polish exile’s flat (in real life, Skolimowski’s own). Strangers in a strange land (though not too strange, as the constant surveillance in a British supermarket make clear), the group set up a rough routine, until news from home emerges. (“Poland no exist. Solidarity kaput,” one Brit states.) Keeping the news from the others, Nowak soon becomes their own private government censor, all while trying to learn how to survive in a new world order, one that he—almost—can con. Irons, in one of his first major roles, carries this sorrowful, moving, and at times comical allegory, “one of the best films ever made about exile” (New York Times).
Moonlighting is repeated on Thursday, August 25.
• Written by Skolimowski. Photographed by Tony Pierce Roberts. With Jeremy Irons, Eugene Lipinski, Jirí Stanislav, Eugeniusz Hacziewicz. (97 mins, In English and Polish with English subtitles, Color, 35mm transferred to DigiBeta, From Goldcrest Films)