Bad Luck

(aka Cockeyed Luck, Zezowate Szczęście, 1960)
   One of the landmarks of the Polish School, Andrzej Munk's merciless satire of opportunism and bureaucracy, scripted by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński. Set between the 1930s and the 1950s, the film introduces a perspective on Polish history that is atypical for Polish cinema. Its protagonist, Jan Piszczyk (Bogumił Kobiela), is a Polish everyman who desperately wants to play an important role in the course of events, yet, without luck on his side, he becomes another victim of history. Unlike the majority of Polish screen characters, known for their romantic spirit, Piszczyk is an antihero—a moronic opportunist and an unreliable narrator who relates the sad story of his life. In six flashbacks he presents himself as the eternal plaything of history. The mixture of generic conventions (from burlesque to political satire) helps Munk to portray Piszczyk as the victim of an oppressive childhood and political circumstances: totalitarian systems (Communism and Fascism) and the war. Munk's tale about the failure of political mimicry may be perceived as a very Central European story and had an impact on other films, such as Hungarian Peter Bacso's The Witness (A tanu, produced in 1969, released in 1978), set during the Stalinist years. Bad Luck was continued by Andrzej Kotkowski in his Citizen P. (Obywatel Piszczyk, 1989), starring Jerzy Stuhr, also scripted by Stawiński.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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