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Piotr Garlicki (#110 of 1)

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema - Krzysztof Zanussi’s Camouflage

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Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema - Krzysztof Zanussi’s <em>Camouflage</em>
Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema - Krzysztof Zanussi’s <em>Camouflage</em>

In the opening sequence of Krzysztof Zanussi’s 1977 film Camouflage, Jakub (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz), a middle-aged professor, carrying a camera, turns his gaze from a dead bird to young people frolicking in the lake. The fluid, objectifying switch of perspective from nature to people is emblematic of Jakub’s stance toward life: A researcher in the humanities, Jakub nevertheless views human dilemmas through the cool prism of biological laws. Fond of metaphors drawn from the animal kingdom, he questions the notions of justice and truth as going against basic survival instincts. And while the first images tune us in to the film’s major tensions, the opening titles hint at its tone, as the playful illustrations of frogs, snakes, and other chameleons signal that though this is a story with rather serious themes, it’s also meant to be taken slightly tongue in cheek.