Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Success is the Best Revenge

Jerzy Skolimowski (1984)

France, UK

Genre: Drama

Co-scripted by director Skolimowski and famous French critic, Michel Ciment, and starring Michael York as Alex Rodak, a Polish theatre director exiled in London. The film tackles the disillusionment of this East bloc exile with the hypocrisy and commercial dependency of Western European culture. Viewers have claimed that the film’s politics is cryptic. In fact, however, it is a film that outspokenly addresses the concern of the director about the moral compromises that East European exiled artists faced in the West. Skolimowski, who wrote the script for Polanski’s early masterpiece Knife in the Water, lived in exile since the late 1960s and worked internationally across Europe. Dubbed ‘the foremost cinematic chronicler of the politics of exile for expatriates from Poland,’ he has repeatedly revisited issues of displacement and exile, most notably in his highly original film collage Hands Up! (1981).

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