Year of the Quiet Sun


Year of the Quiet Sun
(Rok Spokojnego Słońca, 1985)
   The classic Polish film of the mid-1980s, Krzysztof Zanussi's Year of the Quiet Sun portrays an impossible love between two lonely middle-aged people: an American soldier named Norman (Scott Wilson), who was a former prisoner of a German POW camp, and Polish war widow Emilia (Maja Komorowska). Their chance meeting after the war in a small town deserted by the Germans, now part of the Polish Regained Lands, offers them an opportunity to overcome the burden of the past. Emilia, however, does not follow her heart and decides to stay in Poland. The lovers are united only after death in a symbolic last scene showing them dancing at Monument Valley. Zanussi's reconstruction of the postwar period is devoid of optimism. The small Polish town is portrayed as a drab, sinister place—Sławomir Idziak's camera captures inhospitable, chilly landscapes and brownish images of an unfriendly town, as if providing a bitter comment on the "year of the sun." Despite its careful balance between melodrama, psychological drama, and formal beauty, Zanussi's film was not very well received in Poland due to its mood of despair, its uncommitted portrayal of the postwar reality, and the presentation of the postwar situation as the end of the world instead of the beginning of a new one. Its success at the 1984 Venice Film Festival (Golden Lion) only raised suspicions that the award was politically motivated.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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