United States of Love
Cast:Julia Kijowska, Magdalena Cielecka, Dorota Kolak
Language: Polish with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Poland-Sweden 2016 104 mins.
Released by Matchbox Films
Writer-director Tomasz Wasilewski's powerful and absorbing third feature introduces us to the main characters at a dinner party in a Warsaw apartment. A new era's emerging in what was Soviet Europe. It's 1990, the Berlin Wall's down, the USSR is crumbling and Solidarity is an emerging force in Poland. The women are sombre and reach for cigarettes and vodka.
Agata's (Julia Kijowski) trapped in a loveless marriage and has an irrational and all consuming obsession with a local priest. Repressed High School Principle Iza's (Magdalena Cielecka) long term relationship with the father of one of her pupils is threatened by his wife's death. Iza's sister Marzena (Marte Nieradkiewicz), a dance teacher whose husband's in Germany dreams of being a model and is unaware that newly retired Russian language teacher Renata (Dorata Kolak) is fixated with her.
Visually stunning, shot in muted colours by cinematographer Oleg Mutu with long takes and intimate scenes, each story told in turn with powerful performances and a claustrophobic intensity - a powerful exploration of unattainable love, repressed feelings, obsession and desire. There's a touch of Fassbinder here.