Polish Director Jerzy Skolimowski isn't exactly a household name, but during the '70s he wrote and directed two of the most accomplished English language films of a decade that had an embarrassment of cinematic gems. It's likely for this reason that his two masterpieces, Deep End from 1971 and The Shout from 1978, are rarely discussed. Neither are easily obtainable on video, but both were definitely worth the search. Skolimowski is probably closest in terms of style and mood to Polanski (Skolimowski cowrote Polanski's Knife in the Water, so they share some lineage too). Both directors share a sense of the macabre, a talent for black humour and their English language films have an outsider's feel – presumably because they were just that when they first broke out, Polanski in 1965 with Repulsion and Jerzy 6 years later with Deep End.
Both these films are nearly perfect examples of that certain undefinable '70s cinematic something that seems so much more daring and intelligent than what came after. The stories are adult and thought-provoking, bravely exploring complex emotional themes and posing difficult questions about sexuality, youth, longing and desires, issues it seems that are far too extreme for modern film makers. They served as a brilliant double-bill for the opening night gala at the 2010 SNUFF (Segredos Nearly-Unseen Film Festival) launch.
Today SNUFF continues with the universally-acclaimed and yet completely undistributed Colossal Youth (2006) by director-wunderkind Pedro Costas and another from the same year by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sang sattawat (Syndromes and a Century). These are two of the most highly regarded films of the decade and I've seen neither. I'm plan to fix that today, although whether I can do 5 hours of static art-house film viewing remains to be seen. Reviews tomorrow.