Deciding what movie to review this week was a choice I left for Friday night. After seeing the raw, heartbreaking but deeply satisfying A Star is Born, I finally opted for one I was lucky to catch during the San Sebastián International Film Festival: Paweł Pawlikowski’s (Ida, The Woman in the Fifth) irresistible masterpiece Cold War. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut shall wait until next week.

I am completely aware of the fact that this word, “masterpiece”, is used too often and too interchangeably to label movies of dubious cultural value. I include myself among those who are dragged into seeing films that persuade critics and pundits across the board. However, upon deciding to sign up for Cold War’s first screening in Spain, I had only overheard some flattering  remarks about Pawlikowski coming from Cannes. I was not expecting this movie to shatter most of what I know about contemporary filmmaking.

Cold War is quite perhaps the most perfect and romantic movie I remember since Casablanca. Just how rough the lives of these young, hopeful lovers are; such an unmatched ability to recover and reinvent oneself when everything is lost. What a tremendous capacity to keep coming back to each other at a time when love seems to be out of the question, when one can only think of how to survive through the day. What a moving portrayal of someone’s decisive bet for someone else. And most importantly, how disarming to think that this is the director’s most personal and honest reimagining of his parents’ story.

Everything here is where it should be. The two main leads, the unpredictable unfolding of the storyline, the affecting singing. Beauty all around. 

Pawlikowski remarkably finds new colors in black and white. How unusual, just how very special…

My only hope is that you will see it for yourself.

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