This Soviet love story comes along just as Jeremy Hunt faces criticism for comparing the EU to the USSR, with one diplomat suggesting that he “open a history book from time to time,” which might be too much to ask of a man who can’t remember basic things like where he parked his car or where his wife is from.
Cold War is a Polish drama about a pianist and a singer (Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig) who fall in love but are soon torn apart by the Soviets. The film follows their sporadic and passionate reunions over the next 15 years, like a cross between the Before Sunrise and Three Colours trilogies.
The colours in this case are strictly black and white, stylishly framed in the intimate “Academy” ratio. The drama is lean in both the Soviet sense and the 88-minute sense, and director Pawel Pawlikowski doesn’t waste a second of it.
Digging deep into his own family history (the couple are named after his parents) and Cold War-era cinema, Pawlikowski explores the relationship not only between two individuals close to his heart, but also between the state and its citizens.
Theirs is a romance consistently thwarted by governments, ideologies and borders, and the effect it has on them is profound. This makes for a beautiful film but the worst advert for socialism since the Labour Party Conference.
Brilliantly performed and intelligently scored, Cold War uses music to chart the rapid rate of change in groovy places like Paris, while the Eastern Bloc is Strictly No Dancing. Until Boris Yeltsin comes along… on second thoughts, if anyone has that Iron Curtain lying around would they mind popping it back up?