As a group of young men has some fun and then leaves for their basic training, the genders dilute, beads of sweat proliferate, violence and tenderness become one, all culminating in a delirious (and undoubtedly vodka-fueled) train station farewell.
Grzegorz Królikiewicz’s tense, enigmatic and voluptuous short masterpiece, Don’t Cry (1972), leaves one with an insatiable yearning for more, and yet it is perfectly self-contained. With its refusal to guide the viewer towards comprehension, and its blatantly confrontational musique concrète soundtrack, Królikiewicz pushes his documentary into the realm of abstraction so intense, it’s almost abusive. Right from the very first shot of free-floating, long-haired heads turning into visual blots, it’s the mere surface of things that cries out to be acknowledged and perceived in its nakedness.
To say that the movie is dream-like isn’t enough; Don’t Cry feels like a recurring dream.
Of all the directors of the so-called Polish New Wave (Skolimowski, Polański, Zanussi), it’s Królikiewicz who most painfully lacks exposure both in his native country and elsewhere. Soon, I’ll be posting some fragments of his feature-length masterpiece, Through and Through (1973). Meanwhile, here’s the full version of Don’t Cry: