White | Chicago Reader

White

This 1993 black comedy is the least effective work in Krzysztof Kieslowski's “Three Colors” trilogy. A Polish hairdresser (Zbigniew Zamachowski) living in Paris, whose French wife (Julie Delpy) divorces him because he's impotent, is stripped of his job, his money, his passport, and his dignity, and winds up returning to Poland incognito inside a trunk. But taking advantage of the new everything-for-sale economy, he becomes wealthy and hatches a perverse revenge plot. As good as Zamachowski is in the part, his character, like the others in this mordant Polish allegory about “equality,” seems tailored to fit the message. Moreover, the message, which appears to be that capitalism gives you a hard-on (and that working in a foreign culture, even Paris, leads to impotence), is rather glibly and cursorily spelled out by the slender plot; if we accept it at all, we have to do so mainly on faith. With Janusz Gajos and Jerzy Stuhr, who turn in very able performances. In French and Polish with subtitles. 92 min.

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