Looking like two badly mismatched boy band members, the gothic Witold and his incongruously cheerful sidekick rove around the countryside at once spouting philosophy and negotiating the mystery of murdered animals left hanging by their necks. The mania of Witold's obsession is compounded by his unrequited desire for Lena (Victória Guerra), daughter of the barmy hosts Mme. Woytis (Sabine Azéma) and Leon (Jean-François Balmer).
The entire aesthetic of Cosmos reflects the ensemble's whimsy in refraining from anything like straightforward narrative devices. At any and every possible moment the film will digress into bizarre demonstrations of these mad character's quirks. Out of nowhere Witold will deliver a monologue in a Donald Duck voice, Fuchs will appear bloodied and bruised with no explanation, and Mme. Woytis will freeze midway through a rant. Occasionally they will combine in moments of outrageous theatricality too, usually around dinner, scrambling the floor for spilled peas, or throwing ambiguous pontifications at one another.
Cosmos is jam packed with such unforeseen junctures. It would seem that if Żuławski had a project at all for this film, it was to obscure and confuse. As such the narrative is broken up at times with such a heavy hand that it can be tricky to maintain focus. One might suggest that these moments of madness leave Żuławski open to a charge of merely perpetuating an empty eccentricity, but this would overlook the fact that this is an effort from a seasoned director in control of his work. Each image is a choice to deliberately withhold a greater connotation from the viewer. Meaning in life, or the lack thereof, is the core subject of this film - Żuławski reminds the viewer of this through a methodology of pandemonium.
Cosmos is an undeniably interesting and unique take on the murder mystery. While it can be frustrating at times, it is also entertaining. Its wildness demands enormous performances from each of the cast who deliver their roles powerfully. Żuławski's farewell is an uncompromising nod to the struggle to find meaning in life.
|What||Cosmos film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
19 Aug 16 – 19 Nov 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|