Sound And Vision: Jerzy Skolimowski

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
Sound And Vision: Jerzy Skolimowski

In the article series Sound and Vision we take a look at music videos from notable directors. This week we look at ORGANEK's Czarna Madonna directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.

Jerzy Skolimowski might truly be one of the most eclectic directors working out there. From his international breakthrough Deep-end, an off-kilter romance film, that inspired later films like Richard Ayoade's Submarine; to an adventure romp like The Adventures of Gerard. From the quintessential British horror of The Shout; to a hard hitting political drama like Moonlighting. If there is one thing that ties all of Skolimowski's works together it is his love for archetypes and iconography.

After he went on an extended hiatus for about 20 years after his film 30 Door Key (Ferdydurke), he returned to the scene with Four Night With Anna. He followed soon after with Essential Killing, and later 11 Minutes, and EO, the latter of which is currently playing in American cinema's and international festivals. If there is anything that connects these four eclectic movies, it is that Skolimowski is becoming increasingly structurally adventurous, sparse in his storytelling and even more archetypical in the themes he tackles. Essential Killing, for instance, is basically a one-hander about a jihadist soldier escaping through a snowy landscape: it's a film about survival, religious fanatics and existential dread, but it is also just a man and the wilderness. 11 Minutes is a mosaic film, in the style of Short Cuts and Magnolia, where the multiple parts are broken up in 11 minutes. It's both minimalist and maximalist in its approach. And the recent EO is a remake of Au Hasard Balthazar, touching upon greater themes of what divides humans and animals.

The minimalist approach to maximalist effect is clearly present in his music video for ORGANEK's Czarna Madonna. The experiments in sparse storytelling and rigorous structural changes present in latter-day Skolimowski here are present in the form of a single one-take that slowly turns from black-and-white to color. The archetypical tendencies of Skolimowski are also clear: the entire one-take is a saintly but scary madonna in snow, looking intensely at the viewer and the camera, while the snow blows towards us. For six minutes nothing much happens, but at the same time so much happens. It's Skolimowski in a nutshell: the push and pull between stripping something down to its bare elements, until it becomes iconic.

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