Foreign Film Review: Cold War

Foreign film is a can be a scary territory to enter as a film goer. Most people don’t venture towards them because of the language barrier, which is something America needs to work on because most countries are fluent in more than one language, but that another problem for a different day. Watching foreign can not only broaden your cultural horizons but also your artistic lens. I believe it is essential to watch films from other countries because of how much we can learn from another country’s idea of love, life, and the human condition.

By Kennedy Woodard


Paweł Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” is a masterpiece of film crafted in a gorgeous black and white tone giving the film an amazing sense of romanticism. The story follows two people, a man and a woman named Wiktor and Zula. They meet at an audition for his singing and dancing company. You can tell there is a powerful connection between them the minute they lay eyes on each other. From then on they fall deeply and destructively in love. The film spans over 15 years, following the impossible barriers this couple faces. They are fighting a war not only with their country but also within themselves. The actual Cold War entangles itself in their relationship and leads them to question themselves and the journey they are on.

The cinematography and music in this film alone could bring you to tears.  Lukasz Zal spent six months traveling with Pawlikowski testing shots and watching French New Wave films in order to capture the spirit of the story they were trying to tell. Zal successfully captures the feeling throughout Poland, encapsulated in shades of grey. The playing of light made for stunning visuals of the Zula and Wiktor dancing and holding each other. The wide shots signified the idea that the countries they travel to are just as much apart of the story and essentially become characters that affect the protagonists. The cool suave tone of the film is brilliantly captured by the jazz music and voice of Joanna Kulig (Zula). Historically accurate and well scored, Pawlikowski masters the sound of that age.

“Cold War” will stay in your heart long after you watch it. The images of Jazz age France and Nazi war torn Poland will replay in your head in solemn shades of grey, white, and black while the sultry sound of “łojojoj” haunts your soul.