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The Third Part of the Night

(Trzecia część nocy)
Poland 1971. Dir: Andrzej Żuławski. 105 min. DCP

“Daring ... A singular vision of history's horror show.”

NEW RESTORATION | Andrzej Żuławski's hallucinatory, haunting feature-length debut is one of cinema's great out-of-the-gate works; rarely has a first film so thoroughly laid the groundwork for a career-long M.O. Based on his father’s experience as a resistance fighter in Nazi-occupied Poland, Żuławski’s film centres on a fugitive Pole (Leszek Teleszynski) who, after witnessing the slaughter of his wife and son by the Gestapo, descends into a Hellish under(or inner)world shaped by his trauma and the delirium of war. All of Żuławski’s authorial trademarks are here: fever-pitch paranoia, dissociation from self, collapsing subjectivity/objectivity, catharsis through excess. The mercurial camerawork, with its erratic use of frenetic, handheld cinematography, arrives fully formed and awesome. Actress Małgorzata Braunek, playing both a dead lover and doppelgänger, would later marry, then divorce Żuławski, setting the stage for the director’s most notorious mindfuck, Possession.