Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Year of the Quiet Sun|
Actors: Maja Komorowska, Scott Wilson, Hanna Skarzanka, Ewa Dalkowska, Vadim Glowna
Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
An american soldier forms a delicate friendship with a war widow amid the devastation of 1946 poland. In spite of the ligual barrier painful memories of their past & the many cultural divisions that separate them norman & ... more »
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Maya Komorowska superb in A Year of the Quiet Sun
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 08/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A Year of the Quiet Sun is a love story told in the bombed out remains of Poland just after World War II. Scott Wilson is Norman, a private in the American Army who remains behind to take part in the investigation of war crimes. He meets Emilia, a woman he notices painting a picture in a burnt out car. He takes an interest in her and soon falls deeply in love with her and wants to marry her. Emilia is played by Maya Komorowska, who is easily the best thing about this film.If Komorowska is so good, and she is, why haven't we seen her more frequently? The answer to this question comes in a special feature on the DVD. In the mid 1980's when this film was being made, Poland was still under Soviet oppression. Komorowska was a supporter of Solidarity, according to Scott Wilson, who tells us about the problems he faced working on this film with director Krsysztof Zanussi. Few freedoms were available to the Polish people and the oppression they experienced delayed their recovery from the disaster of the Second World War. Komorowska should have been a major star. Fortunately we have A Year of the Quiet Sun to appreciate her great talent.As good as the acting is in this film by all involved, the story moves at a snail's pace. We are meant to feel the pain of Norman and Emilia as they attempt to find some happiness in a bombed out world of fear and poverty. Emilia speaks only a little English and Norman speaks no Polish. It takes time for them to figure out what each wants, which they do through nonverbal communication and occasional help from a translator.Also, Zanussi wants us to see and feel the desperation of the people living in Poland just after the war. He shows us more than he tells us and he takes his time as, for example, we watch Polish bodies being excavated from a mass grave. Emilia's husband may be among the dead, although we are not certain of this.What we are left with after two hours or so of watching this film is the experience of seeing the profound difference one good person can make in the lives of others. Emilia refuses to allow herself and her life to be reduced to hatred and bitterness. She buries the past and attempts to live nonjudgmentally in the present. She seeks happiness, but not at the expense of her duty to her sick mother and to her friends, most notably a prostitute who is her neighbor. Maya Komorowska brings Emilia to life so convincingly that we will not soon forget her or her story."
"Why Don't We Hear About These Movies?"
Stephanie A. Cash | Cape May Court House, New Jersey USA | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was my husband's question halfway through this powerful film. In 1946, an American officer (Scott Wilson, "In Cold Blood") comes to a devastated, formerly German part of Poland to investigate war crimes. He befriends a displaced war widow (the superb Maja Komorowska) and her mother, despite their meager shared vocabulary. Friendship blossoms into love. But don't expect a lot of pretty scenes. This film is somber, with a complete absence of special effects. Light and color are doled out like postwar jam and coffee. The closest it comes to laughs is the occasional guffaw of frustration at the variously hapless and feckless translators recruited to the lovers' cause. Oh, and viewers of Polish background get a ticket for one chuckle of recognition at the portrait of the self-sacrificing mother. Also, there is no glamour-amid-the-ruins, absolutely none. No, all elements of light entertainment are stripped away here. The film's entire brilliance comes from Zanussi's script and direction, self-effacing yet dumbfounding art and camera work, the basis in history, and virtuoso ensemble acting. The real sufferings endured by millions are the canvas on which this film is painted. Somber, yes, but the story might really have happened; in fact, I have no doubt that some version of it really did happen, perhaps many times. Zanussi's real subject is the bright flame of decency, strength and heroism on which civilized behavior depends. I was a little worried about inflicting this movie on my husband after a hard day's work...would he doze off? But I'd forgotten one thing since I first saw "A Year of the Quiet Sun" years ago as a first-run movie in New York: the superb acting and the fragile communication between the main characters produce a sustained dramatic tension which will keep you on the edge of your seat. Believe me, we both stayed wide-eyed. Had enough of Hollywood? Here's your movie."
"Hope and Love During The Times of Misery and Despair"
Galina | Virginia, USA | 12/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Krzysztof Zanussi's "A Year of the Quiet Sun" (1984) is a wonderful and unforgettable film. Zanussi's name may not sound familiar but he is one of the finest Polish and European directors who inspired the whole new generation of Polish filmmakers, including Krzysztof Kieslowski and Agnieszka Holland. This film is a lost treasure - I never heard of it; there are only few users' comments about it on IMDb. I saw couple of earlier Zanussi's films ("The Structure of Crystal" and "The Constant Factor") but they could not prepare me for this one, another Landscape After Battle, the simple and quiet story of love during the time of suffering. The year is 1946, the place - a small war- ravaged town that used to be a part of Germany but now is a part of Poland. The Polish widow, Emilia (Maya Komarowskaya in a performance so powerful, intense, subtle, and shining - she reminds me of Liv Ullmann in her best roles) meets an American soldier, Norman (Scott Wilson of "In Cold Blood") who involved in war-crimes investigation. Both their lives have been cruelly disrupted by the worst War of the 20th Century. Norman has seen so much suffering and death (he was a prisoner of war) - it is not easy for him to return home but he feels that the woman he met by chance and with whom he has no common language and can only communicate by gestures or rely on interpreters, could be his partner and friend for life. Emilia, who has lost her husband after only a few months of marriage and struggles to survive while taking care of her ailing mother, questions herself if it is even "right" for a human being to look for love and happiness. Slowly, these two begin to realize that no matter what you lived and you've been through, no matter how unbearable the past was and how uncertain the present is, love is possible.
I found myself so involved in the story that Zanussi and his actors told; I wished so much for the characters to find peace and happiness together but I knew that it was not an optimistic Hollywood romance I was watching. I knew that it was one of the best romance films I was watching. The camera work by Slawomir Idziak (Black Hawk Down (2001), Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993),La Double vie de Véronique(1991), and The Decalogue (1989) is above any praise as well as the original music by Wojciech Kilar (The Pianist (2002), Dracula (1992)).
The film ends with a fantasy scene that takes place in Monument Valley, where John Ford shot his "Stagecoach", the only American film that Emilia and her mother saw and they mentioned it to Norman. Scott Wilson remembers that Zanussi and the Andrei Tarkovsky visited Monument Valley on their way to the Telluride Film Festival in 1983.
From Roger Ebert's review: "Both directors vowed to film there someday. Tarkovsky died before he could. Zanussi traveled to the valley with only his cameraman, his two stars, and Wilson's wife Heavenly as crew, and they filmed the ending, which is poetic in the way it visualizes the hope of the two lovers while reflecting the poignancy of their fates."
A love story about second chances
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 08/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""A Year of the Quiet Sun" is a love story about second chances; however, it is not a storybook romance. The story takes place in Poland, just after World War II. The people and the country are still recovering from fresh wounds. The landscape is dirty and full of ruins, while the people have just as much scars on their souls.
The story is about an American solder (Scott Wilson) that volunteers to go to Poland instead of returning home early. He quickly meets a Polish woman and takes an instant liking to her. She is very reluctant to fully accept him as her husband just died. They face language barriers, as they do not know each other's language. They slowly overcome this barrier as they learn a few words of the other's tongue. One element that adds realism to the movie is that they actually speak English, Polish and German.
"A Year of the Quiet Sun" has nice drama is not your typical Polish film as one of the leading roles is played by an American. One underling message in the film is about seizing the day. Regardless of a painful past, people can choose to make the best of things and experience some pleasure. I guess one could say "A Year of the Quiet Sun" is a kind of bittersweet romance as it is such a mix of hope for something better and sorrow.