The Knife Essay

The Knife Essay-39
Separated from his family, he took shelter wherever he could, eating maggot-ridden food and living on the move.

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The thriller involves a married couple who take a young drifter with them on their yacht for a brief retreat.

Secluded on a boat in Poland’s Masurian Lake District, with conditions ranging from aggressive storms to dead calm, there is nowhere to escape, and changes in weather signal changes in mood.

The characters are entirely isolated; not even random extras appear in the background.

Polanski sought to make a simple film about opposing characters forced to confront one another, about establishment battling anti-establishment in an intimate, airtight setting.

One does not completely inform the other, yet their relationship, given the intensity of the events in Polanski’s life and their reflectivity of his cinema, cannot be ignored.

As much as any artist places themselves into their work, Polanski is drawn to particular kinds of stories, whether from his own imagination or a piece for adaptation.Social convention did not apply while scavenging the streets of Krakow for food or dodging Nazi patrols.His hero during his later college years would become Bertrand Russell, whose ‘live life for the moment’ thesis appealed to this non-practicing, persecuted Polish Jew. Russell once wrote, “One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.” Polanski’s ever-rascally ways later in life seem to closely follow this edict.) And so, he conspicuously avoided addressing the Holocaust in his films, until 2002’s triumphant , for which he won the Oscar for Best Direction.And while his films certainly do not read like an autobiographical cipher to Polanski himself, to ignore the links between director and film in this case would be willful ignorance on the part of even the most casual viewer.tells a story of limited spaces and intense circumstances.His personality inhabits every aspect, from investigations of claustrophobia and divergent personalities to clever framing on a cramped boat set.And through his artistry and skill, Polanski overcomes an impossible shooting location and the outward minimalism of the story to construct a tale defined by the profound relationship between its suffocating backdrop and psychological potency.If enduring the Holocaust was not enough, in 1949, Polanski barely avoided becoming the victim of black marketer and murderer Janusz Dziuba, who had killed eight others in Krakow in muggings staged to look like trades.Left bludgeoned and drenched in blood, Polanski barely survived, though Dziuba was caught; the event would give Polanski nightmares about showers of blood for years to come, an image which he reproduced in 1966 for by 1969, the year when the Manson “family” slaughtered his eight-month pregnant wife Sharon Tate.His films in particular are subject to biographical readings, sometimes unjustly, because, as the director remains resistant to interviews, scholars have only his films to cling to for psychological extrapolation. Surely his eventful personal life has some bearing on his subsistence as a filmmaker; the two aspects are inexorably connected, though how much depends on the interpretation.Rather than allowing Polanski’s publicized exploits and personal misfortunes to overshadow his work, consider that, like any auteur, the director and his films share an undeniable correlation on and offscreen.


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