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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

‘Cold War’: An Impassioned Romantic Drama Set Against a Backdrop of 1950's-Era Communist Poland

Movie poster for the film Cold War starring Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig

“Cold War” (“Zimna Wojna”) is a sublime and impassioned historical drama from 2018 starring Tomasz Kot as Wiktor, a musical director in post-World War II Poland. During auditions for a state-sponsored music ensemble, Wiktor first encounters Zula (Joanna Kulig), an alluring young singer masquerading as an impoverished waif.

Immediately enraptured by one another, Wiktor and Zula fall into a fervent love affair subsumed by their lives as musical collaborators. When their troupe is given the propitious opportunity to tour the Eastern Bloc on a Stalinist-friendly campaign they embrace their good fortune—even as the allure of defection to the West while visiting East Berlin becomes overwhelmingly enticing.

Co-written and directed by Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (“My Summer of Love”, “Ida”), “Cold War” is a cursive and arousing tale that traverses nearly 2 decades in the lifespan of a relationship beset by myriad obstacles and unyielding desires. Shot in luminous black & white by cinematographer Łukasz Żal, it’s an intoxicating and wonderfully original tale of human devotion chronicled along the course of a remarkable and momentous period of world history.


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