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Saturday, October 22, 2016
Andrzej Wadja | Niewinni czarodzieje (Innocent Sorcerers)
faith, hope, and love
by Douglas Messerli
Jerzy Andrzejewski and Jerzy Skolimowski (screenplay), Andrzej Wadja (director) Niewinni czarodzieje (Innocent Sorcerers) / 1960
The young peroxide blonde sports doctor, Bazyli (Tadeusz Łomnicki) of Andrzej Wadja’s memorable 1960 Polish film, Innocent Sorcerers, suddenly loses all interest in the many women in his life, and seemingly transfers his sexual allegiance to the male boxers he daily tests and to his fellow jazz musicians—by night this handsome young doctor plays drums in a popular local Warsaw jazz combo.
Although still popular with women, including a regular “rock-tossing” former partner, Mirka (Wanda Koczeska)—to warn him of their presence, his girlfriends toss small rocks at his apartment windows—Bazyli has lost his commitment for the drunken nightlife preferred by most of his male acquaintances, including his closest mates, Edmund (Zbigniew Cybulski) and Dudzio (the later director Roman Polański). What is happening to this young 1960s Polish youth culture, we can only ask?
The clever interchanges remind one of Albee’s George and Martha of Who’s Afraid of Virigina Woolf?, however without any of their lifetime experiences. Wadja’s couple are clearly challenging one another, but also pushing into a nearly voyage into a sexual terrain in which neither of them is willing to commit.
Jonny Cooper, of Britain’s Daily Telegraph expresses it best:
Halfway through Innocent Sorcerers, the film's two central characters play a game of "strip matchbox". They perch a matchbox on the edge of the table, flip it into the air, and take their clothes off depending on which side it lands. Five minutes earlier, Bazyli…had been trying to seduce bohemian and coquettish Pelagia, but now their desires are not so clear. As the matchbox continues to land in the man's favour, both lose interest in seeing the game through. Nakedness has quickly fallen from being desirable to shameful; sex suddenly seems like too much effort.
Los Angeles, October 22, 2016