The Life of Matthew

(Żywot Mateusza, 1968)
   An adaptation of Tarjei Vesaasa's novel and one of the unique films of the late 1960s directed by Witold Leszczyński. The film's slow-paced story, divided into seven chapters, concerns the forty-year-old Matthew (Franciszek Pieczka), an oversensitive person who is considered mentally handicapped by his neighbors. Living with his sister (Anna Milewska) in virtual isolation on the lake, Matthew develops an unusual closeness to nature. The outside world turns on Matthew when his sister falls in love with an outsider, and he paddles to the middle of the lake and punches a hole in the bottom of his boat. Leszczyński focuses on the psychological study of loneliness and of the relationship between man and nature. Exquisite black-and-white cinematography by Andrzej Kostenko and the skillful use of classical music by Arcangelo Corelli enhance the poetic atmosphere of the film, which was awarded at several international film festivals.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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