Mainstream, unoriginal and tired, not three words you could ever use in relation to the films of Andrzej Zulwaski. The Polish director has been confounding, confusing and surprising since his first film, The Third Part of the Night, back in 1971. By far and away his most well-known film is Possession, which stars Isabelle Adjani. It took him fifteen years to release his latest film, Cosmos, which is sadly also his last.
Witold (Jonathan Genet) and Fuchs (Johan Libéreau) cross paths as they arrive at a family-run guesthouse in rural France. Witold seeks peace and quiet on the pretence of cramming for a law exam but any hope of tranquillity is shattered when he starts finding disturbing portents. Witold becomes obsessed with the newly-married Lena (Victória Guerra), the daughter-in-law of the irrepressible owner madame Woytis (Sabine Azéma). As his mania increases, the menagerie of chaos and ill-fated romance spins in ever decreasing circles.
Often irksomely bleak, humour is not something you’d associate with a Zulwaski film. However, the old schemer leaves us with an entirely chaotic and extremely funny coda. Genet is brilliant in his wild-eyed intensity, whilst the rest of the cast infuse every scene with an element of gleeful psychosis. Cosmos is beautifully shot (whatever you do, do not leave before the credits) and immaculately directed. The work of a deranged genius having immense fun.
Cosmos is out in cinemas from Friday.