Salto | Chicago Reader

Salto

This 1965 allegory by writer-director Tadeusz Konwicki might be called terminally Polish, but that doesn't prevent it from also suggesting at times Tennessee Williams (Orpheus Descending, filmed as The Fugitive Kind) and William Inge (Picnic). Perhaps the best reason for seeing it is actor Zbigniew Cybulski, whose black-leather-and-shades mystique has prompted some to call him the Polish James Dean; his character hops off a train to revisit a small village, where he has various skirmishes with the locals, flirts with the daughter of a former lover, has creepy nightmares connected to World War II, appears to cure a couple of ailing children like a faith healer, and attends a climactic "anniversary" party where he leads everyone in an exceptionally weird dance (which gives the movie its title) before some outsiders turn up suggesting he may not be who he seems. (We're not even sure what his name is.) Cybulski's vibrancy makes this sexy movie a striking theatrical event that speaks volumes—even when we aren't quite sure what's going on.

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