The Barrier

(Bariera, 1966)
   An emblematic film of the Third Polish Cinema, scripted and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. The Barrier is the last and most elaborate part of Skolimowski's generational trilogy with Identification Marks: None (Rysopis, 1965) and Walkover (Walkower, 1965). Jan Nowicki stars in The Barrier as the director's alter ego, a nameless outsider ready to test his ideas about life. Carrying his father's saber, he wanders through an artificial space that is frequently only a white, dreamlike, and surrealist landscape. The poetic stylization and ornate symbolism in The Barrier refer to Polish culture, recent history, and to the director's own biographical legend. The very title of the film introduces the theme of a generational conflict between the generation of fathers, locked in their past, and the new generation, which was too young to be active during World War II. Skolimowski portrays the protagonist's alienation from the older generation as well as the grotesque aspect of the war veterans' behavior. The music, composed by Krzysztof Komeda, provides an ironic, sometimes tragic comment on the action. Skolimowski's film won the top award at the film festival in Bergamo.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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