DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

CAMOUFLAGE (Barwy Ochronne) (director: Krzysztof Zanussi; screenwriter: Tadeusz Wybult; cinematographer: Edward Klosinski; editor:  Urszula Sliwinska; music:  Wojciech Kilar; cast: Piotr Garlicki  (Jaroslaw Kruszynski), Zbigniew Zapasiewicz (Jakub Szelestowski), Christine Paul-Podlasky (Nelly Livington-Pawluk), Mariusz Dmochowski  (Provost), Magdalena Zawadzka (Mariola), Wojciech Alaborski  (Kiszewski), Joanna Pacula (Student), Eugeniusz Priwieziencew (Konrad Raczyk); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; Clavis Films/PAL format DVD; 1977-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles)

"Explores how youthful idealism is crushed by the university system."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Krzysztof Zanussi ("The Soul Sings"/"Revisited"/"Black Sun") directs a landmark Polish film about the generation gap, the conflict between an older cynical and manipulative professor and his naive liberal-minded younger more forthright colleague, and about the workings of the power structure within a university. The pic explores how youthful idealism is crushed by the university system, as Zanussi and writer Tadeusz Wybult take swings at both the self-righteous students, the evil powers and the weak faculty that curry favor with the powers. The pettiness of bureaucracy is played out against an academic background. For foreigners, there are situations that arise that only those familiar with the politics of the Polish university might get the nuances.

At a bucolic palatial setting, a Polish university holds a summer seminar for linguistic students. At the seminar the newly appointed 26-year-old Professor Kruszynski (Piotr Garlicki) is in conflict with the camp supervisor, the veteran Professor Szelestowski (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz), over his power-trip attitude toward the students. The select students and faculty are there to vacation and award a prize to a paper on linguistics, which will be chosen by a faculty jury.

Prof. K. flirts with the sexy English exchange student Nelly Livington-Pawluk (Christine Paul-Podlasky), is alarmed when told by Prof. S that the Provost (Mariusz Dmochowski) cribbed his doctorate and is disappointed when a mediocre paper is chosen the winner by the jury of faculty. Tensions rise when the crazed student winner (Eugeniusz Priwieziencew) bites the ear of the Provost at the ceremony and when K. doesn't get him kicked out of the camp as requested by the Provost and the police must do it, the fair-haired young professor loses favorite treatment with the Provost.

REVIEWED ON 12/25/2013       GRADE: B+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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