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The Codes
dir. Wojciech Jerzy Has / Poland 1966 / 80’
subtitles: Polish and English


Jan Kreczmar, Zbigniew Cybulski, Ignacy Gogolewski, Irena Horecka, Janusz Kłosiński, Barbara Krafftówna, Wacław Kowalski, Kazimierz Opaliński, Władysław Dewoyno, Adam Dzieszyński, Janusz Gajos

Film description

A Polish emigrant, former soldier on the western front – Tadeusz (Jan Kreczmar) returns from London to Cracow via Paris after a long absence from his home country. He has set himself a goal: to meet his family and to solve the mystery of the disappearance of his youngest son (Jędrek), missing in the last year of the German occupation. Tadeusz is guided by his other son – Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski). Tadeusz searches particular places (Cracow and the neighbourhood), but also the state of mind of people submerged in post-war Poland. This confrontation – of the vision of Poland with the found reality and his own experience – seems like a nightmare. It exposes an image of complicated interpersonal relations and stories. This terror is even enhanced by the fact that Jędrek was probably killed by Poles from a military conspiracy organisation.

The Codes hides a deep reflection on time and history. In this film, different aspects of reality intertwine: the documentary level and phantasmagoria. The presence of vision scenes, inspired by the poem Anhelli by Juliusz Słowacki, suggests that the story of Tadeusz refers not only to the actual, but also to the philosophical dimension of Polish history.

Marcin Maron

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