Monday, November 22, 2010

a hole in the canon

Why have you never heard of Andrzej Żuławski?

Or, perhaps more to the point, why had I never heard of Andrzej Żuławski until encountering his On the Silver Globe (1977 / 1987) by accident two years ago?

Not once in any of the film classes I took in college was Żuławski ever mentioned. Not once did I come across any of his films during numerous (often upwards of 8 per week) art house screenings while living in Boston for several years. Not one of the many film enthusiasts I know has ever mentioned him to me.

Yet, now I have seen three of his films. In addition to On the Silver Globe, L'Amour Braque and Possession, all three of them absolute classics: brilliant composition and editing, astonishing acting, and completely original and compelling stories. (Not to mention the appearance of Isabelle Adjani and Sophie Marceau, two of the most ridiculously beautiful women to ever walk the face of the earth.)

This director's work should have been all over my film classes, all over the art house schedules. His work is like a cross between the best of nouvelle vague and German new wave, and better than most directors in either category. Why is he missing from the canon?

Or has my experience here been totally idiosyncratic . . . ?

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