The Devil(Diabel)

  • Dir: Andrzej Zuławski

  • Poland, 1972, Polish, 125mins, DCP

  • Cast: Wojciech Pszoniak, Leszek Teleszynski, Malgorzata Braunek

Before he won cult fame for his psychologicalhorror film Possession, Polish maverick Andrzej Żuławski delivered this beastly picture ofinsanity, fear and evil. Political prisoner Jakub,already worn down by torture, is freed from jail by a black-caped character and manipulated into mounting mania. The stranger takes Jakub to family, friends and others, and at each stop prods the ex-prisoner to kill. Żuławski based the tale on Polish authorities' 1968 stoking of student protests as an excuse for crackdowns, and cloaked the theme with 18th century costume, a frenzied atmosphere and fuzzed-out psych rock. Censors weren't impressed, and the film lay banned for 17 years. A fierce exploration of mind games and madness.