The Devil (DCP Restoration)

Restoration courtesy of the Polish Cultural Institute New York

Hitting an off-the-charts level of subversive allegory, Zulawski’s second feature is a blood-splattered rampage through a war-charred 1790s Poland that turns the historical epic inside out, and dances on its carcass. Immediately banned in the director’s Communist Poland for over a decade and a half, The Devil writhes with nonstop demonic energy as it follows a nobleman who, after escaping from prison, swan dives into insanity and mass murder. Returning home to his once-rich family—now reduced to savagery—and manipulated by a black-cloaked Satanic stranger at the center of a web of political treachery, the nobleman eventually enacts a Hamlet-like pyrrhic revenge on just about everyone in sight. But The Devil’s most spectacularly intense violence is all emotional, with near-constant outbursts of grief, and desperation of a seizure-like intensity that is downright mesmerizing. You won’t be able to look away, and with the way Zulawski’s gloriously restless camerawork captures all the detail, you’ll never want to.

Dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 1972, Digital Presentation, 119 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!