Jerzy Skolimowski’s ‘Barrier’ and the Sneaky Cameo

Among the many highlights of this year’s Kinoteka Polish Film Festival in London is a curated retrospective of Jerzy Skolimowski’s work, more specifically, the efforts as a director, as his screenplay contributions to the likes of Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water and Andrzej Wajda’s Innocent Sorcerers have been excluded. Skolimowski himself has been on hand to introduce some of the films or participate in post-screening Q&As, and I personally found it a great honour to briefly be in the company of that one Russian general Scarlett Johansson beat up at the beginning of The Avengers.

I caught Skolimowski at a 35mm screening of his 1966 film Barrier, a characteristically surreal tale of a rebellious student wanting to go about erasing all the perceived barriers in his life. Forewarning of possibly less than stellar English subtitles, the director assured the attending audience that, if the film seemed to be suddenly taking an upswing in lightness of tone, it was definitely okay to commence laughing. Aside from the laugh that got, the most interesting titbit the man offered was regarding how he snuck himself into the film despite instructions from the Polish Secretary of Culture at the time…

Full feature at Vague Visages


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