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Cold War Criterion

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Criterion Collection: Cold War | Blu-ray Review

Criterion Collection: Cold War | Blu-ray Review

Polish auteur Pawel Pawlikowski ascends to the Criterion Collection with his 2018 success Cold War, which competed at Cannes (winning him Best Director), and nabbed three Academy Award nominations (Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Achievement in Cinematography). Distributed by Amazon in late December of 2018, the film amassed a little over 4.5 million at the domestic box office and over twenty million worldwide (topping his 2013 title Ida, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film and brought in a little over eleven million worldwide). The black and white anti-romance period piece was one of the best theatrical releases of 2018 and cemented Pawlikowski as one of Poland’s finest contemporary auteurs.

From our 2018 Cannes Review:

While the scope of Cold War’s central relationship might recall romantic traditions of the studio era, its narrative is anything but nostalgic. Clipping neatly through movements, locations, and chunks of time, the film rushes us into crash landings between Zula and Wiktor, until a finale which is as cold, austere, and finite to match the apathy of their suffocating environment. Pawlikowski manages another masterful presentation of doomed humans struggling to outrun a past which will not let them go in a film as beautifully packaged as it is performed.”

Disc Review:

Criterion presents Cold War as a new 4K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio in 1.33:1. Picture and sound quality are superb in this transfer (suggesting Ida would also benefit from a similar packaging).

Pawel Pawlikowski:
This thirty-seven-minute interview features Pawlikowski with director Alejandro G. Inarritu, recorded in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019 for the Criterion Collection.

Cannes Press Conference:
The twenty-eight-minute press conference from Cannes 2018, which includes Pawlikowski, actors Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot and Borys Szyc along with producer Ewa Puszczynska and DP Lukasz Zal, is available as a supplement.

The Making of Cold War:
MK2 produced this thirteen-minute 2018 program which features interviews with cast and crew as well as behind-the-scenes footage.

Behind the Scenes of Cold War:
The Polish Film Institute produced this sixteen-minute 2018 program which features interviews with Pawlikowski, several cast members and on-set rehearsal forage of the Mazurek troupe.

Final Thoughts:

The most important thing is to love, especially in the face of death according to Pawlikowski’s chilly war-time period piece.

Film Rating: ★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆
Disc Rating: ★★★★/☆☆☆☆☆

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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