LAST CIRCLE, THE (OSTATNI KRAG) TV (director/writer: Krzysztof Zanussi; cinematographer: Ryszard Lenczewski; editor: Marek Denys; music: Wojciech Kilar; cast: Daniel Olbrychski (Witold), Olga Sawicka (Jadwiga), Romuald Szejd (Director), Antonina Girycz (Secretary), Dorota Kaminska (Journalist), Ewa Telega (Olga); Runtime: 56; MPAA Rating: NR; Facets Video; 1998-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles)
“It makes for good TV viewing, but only fair cinema.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Weekend Stories is a project produced for Polish television (aired between 1996 and 2000) that is written and directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi(“Structure of the Crystals”/”A Woman’s Decision”/”Spirala”), whereby all eight episodes examine moral dilemmas in contemporary life. It makes for good TV viewing, but only fair cinema.
The Last Circle is set in post-Communist Poland, and has ballet as its background story. The forty-something Witold Crac (Daniel Olbrychski) is a legendary Polish ballet dancer, with international fame, who lives in France. The aging, egotistical dancer, a defector, returns to Warsaw briefly to dance Romeo and Juliet at a charity event, whereby he receives his usual fee. When his partner is injured the anxiety-ridden theater director (Romuald Szejd) arranges that Witold dance with his ex-wife Jadwiga (Olga Sawicka), who has a 6-year-old daughter with her separated second husband. The reunion enables them to confront each other again after 8 years apart and show how far apart they are even if there is also a closeness. As they dance, Witold is pressed by Jadwiga to donate his fee to the charity or she will sabotage the dance. He must reassess if he is willing to alter his selfish and emotionally chilling attitude to be altruistic for once, as he reluctantly promises.
REVIEWED ON 1/13/2014 GRADE: B