Cold War (Artificial Eye)
The winner of the Best Director award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, not to mention a host of gongs at the European Film Awards, Paweł Pawlikowski’s epic romance is one of the finest dramas of recent years. Loosely based on the relationship of the director’s own parents, the story begins in post-war Poland and follows the fortunes of two musicians (Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig) whose love story plays out against the backdrop of the Cold War. Beautifully shot in lush monochrome by DP Lukasz Zal, the movie chronicles the on-off relationship between the two main characters, whose romance through the years offers its own version of the Cold War. In the lead roles, both actors are terrific, with special mention going out to the luminous Kulig ( Elles, Ida). Special mention also needs to be made for the film’s soundtrack, with musical reference points including the folk songs of rural Poland and the sweaty jazz bars of night-time Paris. Blu-ray extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and a look at how the film’s remarkable soundtrack was compiled.
When they say they don’t make ‘em like they used to, Otto Preminger’s cracking film noir is the sort of movie they have in mind. Dana Andrews plays a detective investigating the death of the woman of the title, whose story is revealed to us in flashback. The luminous Gene Tierney plays the enigmatic Laura (a role previously turned down by Hedy Lamarr) and she is superb as the femme fatale at the centre of this noirish thriller. Effective as Tierney and Andrews both are, however, the film is stolen by Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, an acerbic writer and former suitor of the heroine. “I don’t use a pen,” sniffs Lydecker, at one point. “I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.” Zowie. Blu ray extras include an audio commentary with composer David Raksin, various radio adaptations of the drama, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.