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One Room Tenants
Wspólny pokój
dir. Wojciech Jerzy Has / Poland 1959 / 92’
subtitles: Polish and English

Cast

Mieczysław Gajda, Gustaw Holoubek, Adam Pawlikowski, Anna Łubieńska, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Irena Netto, Zdzisław Maklakiewicz, Halina Buyno, Bogusław Danielewski, Krystyna Feldman, Zuzanna Helska, Ruth Taru-Kowalska, Krzysztof Litwin, Andrzej Kozak

Film description

In 1959 Wojciech Has became interested in a novel by Zbigniew Uniłowski: Wspólny pokój, which inspired him to make a new film. This work starts with the return of Lucjan Salis, a beginner author from a sanatorium. This is a starting point of a story about a group of young men: poets – Zygmunt and Dziadzia, students of law, Józef of medicine, and of two women: Felicja and Teodozja. This is a very sad story about the creative feebleness of promising beginner artists, but also about the disease which deprives the main character, Lucjan, of hope for a better life.

 Has’s adaptation updates the spatial topos of the body as a grave. The title room is a place of death for the main character. The disease and passing associated with this space allows the director to return to the theme of life resembling theatre. Above all, the room is a common space, characterised by a lack of intimacy and by exposure. Withdrawal means rejection of masks, opening and liberation. However, when it comes to time spent with other people, it is necessary to give up intimacy and accept constant assessment, which, unfortunately, excludes authenticity.

Iwona Grodź

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