The only one of Skolimowski's significant films to remain locked away in relative obscurity.
If only that were true - unless you know of a source of Skolimowski DVDs that I don't?
You're right actually, I got a little carried away trying to make a point. Certainly not the only
significant, neglected, Skolimowski film.
I would put good money on Deep End coming from Criterion.....This is pure speculation on my behalf, but I have a feeling about this one.
They could issue Barrier
, and cram Deep End
in there as a special feature, or vice versa. Like they did with Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise
and Permanent Vacation
. Or like Milestone did with Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep
and My Brother's Wedding
. I guess the world is their (Criterion's) oyster, plenty of treasure out there.....
Here's a compelling 1967 NY Times review of Skolimowski's Barrier
by Bosley Crowther I found, after it screened at the '67 New York Film Festival. Enjoy.....(note the way he assumes Skolimowski's future place in film history, as he "puts him into the same category as Jean-Luc Godard").
David Ehrenstein wrote:
It's "just a total lack of interest in the Polish/Czech New Wave?"
SEPT. 27th, 1967 NY TIMES REVIEW by Bosley Crowther
HAVING already contributed to the New York Film Festival a conventional New Wave comedy, "Le DÃ©part," Jerzy Skolimowski, the young Polish director, was represented last night by a film that, in more ways than one, puts him into the same category as Jean-Luc Godard, who is also a festival favorite.
Mr. Skolimowski's "Barrier" is a bright, sardonic fantasy that is not only much more indigenously Polish than "Le DÃ©part," but, like Godard's work, is also a provocative personal statement that conforms to no predigested ideologies. Reffish and irreverent, "Barrier" has the exuberance of a youthful work, executed with technical facility and control more often associated with the work of an old pro than with that of a youngster.
It is not a particularly easy film. However, its bizarre juxtaposition of commonplace and fantastic incidents to give them surreal importance is so much a part of the film's point of view that seldom do its obscurities seem annoyingly arbitrary. Quite simply, it's fun to watch.
Spiritually, "Barrier" is a continuation of "Identification Marks: None" and "Walkover," Mr. Skolimowski's tales of alienated youth in a socialist society that were shown at the third New York Film Festival.
In "Barrier," his youthful protagonist, a restless medical student ("I sold myself to the state for a scholarship," he announces glumly but not without humor) lives in a Warsaw that is most often a dreamlike extension of a banal reality.
In the course of one day, he meets and falls in love with a pretty girl and, in the process, has Fellini-like visions of his position in what has been planned as a perfect society. Unlike Mr. Fellini's visions, which generally are pretty plush and consciously decadent, Mr. Skolimowski's are made up of slight variations on ordinary people and places and events. "Holy Week," says the man in the bloodmobile eerily, "is the time to sell blood."
The performers are attractive, but almost anonymous, even Jan Nowicki, who plays the young man, and Joanna Szczerbic (Mrs. Skolimowski), who plays the girl. Mr. Skolimowski's camera is more interested in total images than in pictures of individual people. The result is a work of original cinema composition that also has certain timely political and social interest.