Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Malgorzata Braunek, Iga Mayr, Wiktor Sadecki, Maciej Englert, Monika Niemczyk
Director: Andrzej Zulawski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A political allegory wrapped in the guise of a gory horror film, 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 ... more »
The Devil is like stepping into a world of insanity
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 04/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Andrzej Zulawski's The Devil (Diabel) is a portrait of insanity. It is a horror movie that not everyone will appreciate. The reason for that would mostly be due to it not being sensible. Many of the people in the film act like they are drugged out, there is a theatrical feeling to the way they talk and unquestionably many of them act insane. To say the movie is surrealistic would be an understatement. The Devil is like stepping into a world of insanity.
The story starts out with a crafty beaded man dressed in black entering an asylum run by nuns in 1793, when the Prussians took over part of Poland. He frees a political prisoner, Jakub, moments before the Prussian army goes in and murders everyone there. His liberator becomes a sort of strange guide and tries to influence his morals.
Jakub's guide is very animated and shows him various places as they travel together in the countryside. His impish guide seems all knowing. The people Jakub meets are deeply affected by the war and appear insane. The moral decay Jakub observes influences him. At the urging of his guide, he is transformed into a murderer.
Although The Devil may appear senseless at first, there is meaning in it. At first, my impression was that we are seeing insanity caused by war. But I also thought it suggests the real cause of war and insanity is sin. Of course, just as with great literature, there are many possible messages one could reveal from this film. Furthermore, there are also political comments weaved throughout the entire movie dealing with patriotism and invaders.
The Devil is unquestionably different. The fact that it is a horror, which is relatively rare in Polish cinema, makes it stand out compared to other Polish films. Perhaps the closest film to The Devil (1972) is Instability (Nienasycenie; 2003), which is also Polish. Both films have that surrealistic feeling and nearly everyone in them is crazy; both have atypical sex and nudity interspersed thought the story; both are for viewers that want something very different. I have to add that even if you didn't care for Instability that you still may enjoy the Devil because it very unique.
Servicable release, but don't buy it.
M. Lucas | Oregon | 04/23/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who has an interest in Eastern European cinema probably knows the label Facets, the grin-and-bear-it, necessary-evil company that distributes most major titles of Czech and Polish classics in the US in barely tolerable (or intolerable) releases that skirt bootleg quality. They distribute DVDs for PolArt, which issues "unauthorized" releases of Polish films -- whatever that means.
The two PolArt Zulawski releases, The Devil and On the Silver Globe, are pretty much the only available releases of these films here or in the UK. It could be worse -- these are not unwatchable, and fans of the filmmaker will want to catch these films in whatever form they can get them in.
But I wouldn't buy these releases. Mondo Vision has been issuing superb editions of Zulawski films (La femme publique, and The Most Important Thing: Love is coming soon), and apparently holds the rights to almost all of the Zulawski catalogue, including these two films. I would hazard a guess that its only a matter of time before these two films get a beautiful, worthy release for about the same price as these shoddy pseudo-bootlegs.
Just hold out a little while longer, Zulawski fans."