Monday, February 27, 2012

Three Roman Polanski shorts

Shortly before Knife in the Water, Roman Polanski did three short films.

Rozbijemy Zabawe



...a short film written and directed by Roman Polanski in 1957. According to Roman Polanski's autobiography, the film was a stunt which nearly got him thrown out of Lodz film school; Polanski had organized a groups of "Thugs" to go to a school dance and begin disrupting it. As the band played "When the Saints Go Marching In," some students were actually beaten up. The ironic alternate title is "Break Up the Dance".

The Fat and the Lean

Le Gros et le Maigre



A small and thin barefoot slave (played by Polanski) plays a flute and beats a drum to entertain his large master who rocks in a rocking chair in front of his mansion. The slave jumps and leaps like a madman, wipes his master's brow, feeds him, washes his feet, shades him from the sun with an umbrella and holds a urinal for him.

IMDb reviewer, debblyst, wrote...

Influenced by Beckett, Kafka and Buster Keaton, this delightful absurdist short comedy already showcases Polanski's trademark black humor, acid sarcasm, great sense of rhythm (helped by Krzysztof Komeda's music) and very personal visual style. "Le Gros..." was obviously meant as a virulent attack on Stalinist regimes (including, of course, the Polish Communist Party) and their tactics of usurpation and exploitation for enduring in power. In this short made in France (his first work outside Poland), Polanski profits from his newfound freedom of expression to make sarcastic criticisms about the Stalinist modus operandi, and avows his fascination with Western capitalism (i.e. the sight of Paris). Coherently, after the international success of his first feature "Knife in Water" the following year, Polanski left Poland for good and conquered Europe and America, not returning to film in his native country until 40 years later with his Cannes+Oscar winner "The Pianist".

Two Men and a Wardrobe

Dwaj Ludzie z Szafa



The film features two men, played by Jakub Goldberg and Henryk Kluba, who emerge from the sea carrying a large wardrobe, which they proceed to carry into a town. Carrying the wardrobe, the two encounter a series of hostile events, including being attacked by a group of youths (one of whom is played by Polanski himself). Finally, they arrive back at a beach and then disappear in the sea.

joNNi, an IMDb reviewer, wrote...

One of his earliest films, at 25 years old, Polanski is still exploring the best way to shock the audience, engross the audience, AND serve them a feast of the unconventional. Perceptive, witty and occasionally downright nasty (see the theatrical 'murder' in the river as the two heroes blithely carry the wardrobe along the bank), Polanski's trademark weirdness is still embryonic but ultimately satisfies. An oddity, yes, and a must see for anyone who cherishes dreams of film school.

Polanski...the crime...the judicial system?

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