By : Andrzej Zulawski

With : Wojciech Pszoniak, Leszek Teleszynski, Malgorzata Brauwnek
Pologne, 1972, PAL, 4/3 - 123 mn
zone 2, Couleur, mono

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English title : THE DEVIL
Original title : DIABEL

Directed by : Andrzej Zulawski

With : Wojciech Pszoniak, Leszek Teleszynski, Malgorzata Brauwnek
Poland, 1972, PAL, 4/3 - 123 mn
zone 2, Color, mono

Original version, with French subtitles.

During the invasion of Prussian army in Poland in 1793, a young Polish nobleman (Jakub) is saved by a stranger who wants to return home in order to obtain a list of Jakub's fellow conspirators. Following his mysterious savior across the country, Jakub sees the overall chaos and moral corruption including his father's death and his girlfriend's betrayal. Being apparently demented by what he has seen, he commits some of seemingly motiveless and gory killings...

Zulawski envisions a world driven mad by greed, lust, envy and violence, where the atrocities of the battlefield are imprinted in the minds and on the faces of each individual. His outward expression of these worst of human traits is mirrored in the appropriately over-the-top direction, with its abundance of hand-held and 360-degree spiraling shots, along with the actors disturbing facial contortions and theatrical gestures. Through Jakub's surreal, circular journey, which takes him through various seasons and landscapes yet seemingly never very far from his home town, he discovers not only that he fought for nothing, but that the world he left behind has devolved beyond repair and people are left only to fulfill their basest desires in the most vulgar and despicable of ways. Finding his father dead, his mother working as a prostitute, his girlfriend pregnant by his friend and his sister constantly beaten, Jakub finally gives in to the wishes of his savior, who by now has revealed himself as something quite different, and succumbs to the depravity surrounding him. Zulawski links the theatrical to these horrific acts - a notion embodied by the traveling troupe which Jakub encounters throughout his travels - making his transition from soldier to murderer a conscious decision to engage in what has become an almost alternate reality. It's a truly uncompromising vision of Hell on Earth.

Andrzej Zulawski's THE DEVIL did not escape the wrath of communist censorship. The film was banned in Poland for 15 years before getting a sporadic release in 1987.

Watch a video excerpt :

Ext Le Diable
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