Nóz w wodzie (1962)
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- Knife in the Water
- 94 min.
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First film (directorial debut) shows the brilliancy of Roman Polanski.. 7.5/10.
Roman Polanski's directorial debut is the minimalistic Polish film Knife in the Water, which feels like a thriller, but is really more of a relationship drama, in which a married couple picks up a young hitchhiker who ends up being invited on their one-day sailing trip on a lake. What unfolds is a dangerous dick-measuring context, in which you're never sure whether you should be more wary of the older man or the younger man. After all, bringing a young transient with a knife about your small boat is a classic recipe for disaster, but why did the overbearing husband invite him aboard in the first place? The wife seems underwritten in comparison, but once the two men are symbolically emasculated through a kind of mutually-assured destruction of ego, she takes her place in the drama, and the title's knife, which was literal, but could also have represented the sharp-angled craft, becomes the emotional one she's able to twist in her husband's wound. I very much like that ambiguous ending, which speaks to his new impotence. The available print is missing a lot of subtitles though. Like, I'm okay with not getting every little nautical order given, but I sometimes felt like I was missing something more relevant (the kid's poem, for example). What's up with that, translators?
Three obnoxious people being obnoxious for 90 minutes.
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In 13 official lists
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This movie ranks #4 in Muzeum Kinematografii w Łodzi's Best Polish Films
This movie ranks #33 in Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej's 100 Years of Polish Film
This movie ranks #45 in Academy Award - Best International Feature Film Nominees
This movie ranks #66 in Empire's The 100 Best Films of World Cinema
This movie ranks #240 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #251 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #295 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #297 in Amos Vogel's Film as a Subversive Art
This movie ranks #447 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #516 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #631 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #642 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #904 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films