Shivers | Chicago Reader

Shivers

Made shortly before the Polish crackdown, Wojciech Marczewski's 1981 film, set in the Stalinist 50s, is the story of a troubled 15-year-old boy who is selected for future party membership and sent to a Young Pioneers training camp. His father, meanwhile, has been arrested for nebulous “antirevolutionary” activities, and the boy soon learns to accept the distant, idealized figure of Stalin as his real parent. Marczewski's portrait of the boy's psychology relies too heavily on basic Freud, but the film lives hauntingly in the series of fragmented, inflamed images the director employs to illustrate the oppressive atmosphere of the times. There are moments, captured from the boy's feverish point of view, that combine adolescent horror and ideological comment in a way that suggests a politicized Night of the Hunter.

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