The Illumination (director Krzysztof Zanussi in person!)

Filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi in person! As the ‘60s crashed into the ‘70s, our homegrown American cinematic rebellion manifested in such kaleidoscopic elements as Easy Rider’s rebel yell, or the soul-searching of Five Easy Pieces. At that same time in Poland, that rebellion took the form of Krzysztof Zanussi’s landmark The Illumination, which blends physics, metaphysics, art, artifice and an unflinching take on the disaffected collegiate class into a generation-defining mosaic — a shocking raised fist to the Iron Curtain establishment. Zanussi’s first years were spent studying both science and philosophy, which highly inform this autobiographical narrative/doc/essay excursion into life’s universal questions, as seen through the lens of a wayward grad student grappling with money, responsibility and existential anguish. It’s a miracle how Zanussi pushed The Illumination through Communist censorship, given that it’s not only totally alive with enough energy to irk a bureau’s worth of Bloc-heads, but that it also includes characters openly questioning why they bother staying in Poland (answer: so that they can gain enough work experience and ditch it, natch.) A brilliant burst of precision, intellect and emotion.
Dir. Krzystof Zanussi, 1973, DCP, 91 min.

Check out Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Illumination”!