Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Noir style has stained Polish cinema since the great days of Ashes And Diamonds. The look of Palimpsest is bare and dark, the mood intense, the actors brooding. This cannot be post EU Warsaw. There is no comfort here, only tension and fear.

A policeman has been murdered. Marek (Andrzej Chyra), his friend and fellow detective, is assigned to the case. The killing affects him to the extent that he cannot sleep and has startling flashbacks, like dream shots in white light, of death and sex. It seems that Marek and the dead man enjoyed a menage a trois with Hanna (Magdalena Cielecka) - or not. Or why?

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The film begins to question the meaning of reality and there are Memento moments, as if time and existence is forever elusive and vulnerable. There is an obsession with water and Marek is forever making calls on pay phones - mobiles don't exist - and getting no answer. Hanna appears in different guises, as a lover and a loyal wife.

Confusion is barricaded against the violence that erupts, as music attacks, simulating terror. The faces are close and filled with character. These men are hard; their faces are hard. Who are they?

The atmosphere is beautifully orchestrated. Konrad Niewolski recreates the sensation of paranoia that crawls inside your mind, disturbing the stability of plot devices. In the end, you ask, is this style wrapped in a conundrum? Is it too clever for its own good?

The final scene is a puzzle. You walk out of the cinema not elevated by the electricity of the experience, but baffled.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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A Polish detective investigates the murder of a colleague.

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Andrew Robertson **

Director: Konrad Niewolski

Writer: Igor Brejdygant

Starring: Andrzej Chyra, Magdalena Cielecka, Robert Gonera, Adam Ferency, Henryk Talar, Grzegorz Warchol

Year: 2006

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Poland


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