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Królikiewicz was one of the few Polish directors who was also a film theorist and based his films on a specific theoretical understanding of cinematic perception. His conception of cinematic perception is an existential and ethical one, essentially grounded on the idea that human experience is based on the construction of order out of chaotic and fleeting perceptions.
Thus Królikiewicz attempted in his films not to create this order for the spectators, but to present them with chaotic fleeting perceptions that are nevertheless organised in such a way as to be susceptible to this perceptual ordering process on the part of the viewer. To encounter a film like Through and Through is to face the challenge of having to reconstruct an orderly perception out of a chaotic influx of images. Crucial to this process is that it is not a purely objective one but one that concerns and implicates the viewer’s own subjectivity in a type of double cognition, at once subjective and objective, capable of transcending the usual limits of self-identity, which is simply an intensification of the psychic process that takes place during any film screening.
In practice this means that the resulting films contain gaps and are built out of fragmentary perceptions that suggest a whole without making it entirely available to the viewer; there is no omniscient god-like perspective on the events featured on the screen but merely fragmented perceptions taking place within the cinematic world that leave it up to the viewer to piece them together. Certainly Through and Through conformed to this idea from the beginning with a chaotic party scene in which a sleeping drunk (who only later turns out to be the central character) is bullied into playing the guitar and beaten when he refuses among the chaos of a drunken evening portrayed with an almost Warholian blankness and use of duration. Next the viewer witnesses a first communion, where our drunk, revealed to be a musician, is being fired for his drunkenness. All of the pieces of a linear narrative are present but still need to be precisely “articulated” by the viewer and this is how the film continues for most of its duration.
- Michael Goddard
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #34 in Muzeum Kinematografii w Łodzi's Best Polish Films
This movie ranks #54 in Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej's 100 Years of Polish Film