Barrier | Chicago Reader

Barrier

In his third feature (1966), Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski captures the spirit of youthful anarchy so prevalent in 60s cinema but cloaks his philosophical hero, a graduating Warsaw university student (Jan Nowicki), in a mantle of pessimism and ennui. With no immediate plans, the graduate wanders a modern but impersonal cityscape; after failing to connect with his preoccupied father, he tries to impress his former classmates by enlisting an attractive streetcar operator (Joanna Szczerbic, Skolimowski's wife at the time) to pose as his fiancee. Their big date in a fancy restaurant unfolds as absurdist slapstick, but the overall tone of the film is one of sardonic despair, from a Fellini-esque scene of a blood drive during Holy Week to the hero's climactic blind tumble down a steep incline. In Polish with subtitles.

Credits

Director:

  • Jerzy Skolimowski

Cast:

  • Jan Nowicki
  • Joanna Szczerbic
  • Tadeusz Lomnicki

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