Farewells

Wojciech Has's 1958 Polish film was apparently conceived as a mixture of comedy and melodrama, but its deliberate imagery, ponderous pace, and fatalistic tone give it an air of hopeless melancholy. A rebellious young student, sick of his studies and his family, flees to the country with a taxi dancer; the year is 1939, and not long after his father intervenes Poland is invaded. When the student meets the girl a few years later under the German occupation, their circumstances have changed greatly. From the beginning Has suggests that his characters are ruled more by social forces than by their own wills: often they surrender the foreground and move into the background, taking their place in the larger scheme as the narrative descends into despair. With Maria Wachowiak and Gustaw Holoubek.

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