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Retorospective: Jerzy Skolimowski

LE DEPART

 

Director_ Jerzy Skolimowski
 
Belgium 1967 90min 35mm b&w feature
Review

Le Depart is Skolimowski’s first film made in the West. Its protagonist, nineteen-year-old Marc, works as a hairdresser’s apprentice in Brussels and dreams about becoming a racing car driver. He enters his name for a rally due to start in two days, but does not have a car and goes to great lengths to acquire one. However, when he´s finally in a position to participate in the competition, he and his girlfriend stop at a hotel to get some sleep and they oversleep the rally. Marc is Andrzej Leszczyc’s Western counterpart. Like Leszczyc, he likes games and refuses to follow the rules prescribed to him by his elders. He can thus be described as an eternal boy, Skolimowski’s favourite type of character. There are also differences between the two, as Marc’s identity is entirely defined by what and how he consumes; his love of cars is his only distinct feature. Without it, he would be nobody. Marc is played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, the face of the French New Wave and its ultimate rebel. Le Depart is the most musical film of Skolimowski´s. One feels that without music, Le Depart would not survive as a coherent artefact, but break into a series of disjointed episodes. Music not only illustrates the events or counterpoints them, but practically replaces them, filling long passages without words and endowing the whole film with amazing energy.

CREDIT
  • DirectorJerzy Skolimowski
  • ScreenplayAndrzej Kostenko, Jerzy Skolimowski
  • ProducerBronka Ricquier
  • CinematographyWilly Kurant
  • MusicKrzysztof Komeda
  • EditorBob Wade
  • SoundPhilip Cape
CastJean-Pierre Leaud, Catherine Duport, Jacqueline Bir
DIRECTOR
Jerzy Skolimowski
 
Born in Lodz, Poland in 1938. He studied at University of Warsaw majoring in Anthropology, History and Literature, and published his first short story in his early 20’s; Skolimowski himself is a writer, boxer, and painter. He began his film career as he wrote the script for the film The Innocent Sorcerers(1960) directed by Andrzej Wajda with Skolimowski playing a part. He debuted with drama film, Identification Marks: None(1964) when he was at Polish National Film School, and successively produced numbers of films including Walkover(1965), Barrier(1966), Deep End(1970), etc. Hands Up!(1967), the film which adequately conveys his self-critical and anti-Stalinist point of views, was once banned from release in Poland. However, winning at Cannes Film Festival with his successful films The Shout(1978) and Moonlighting(1982) assured his reputation. In 1991, he exiled himself from filmmaking and became a full-time painter; he has just come back to film world with his latest film, Four Nights with Anna(2008), and is still recognized as one of the most influential Eastern European filmmakers.
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