Movie Review: Cosmos (2015)

0 Stars
Cosmos (2015)

Cosmos (2015)


Director: Andrzej Zulawski

Cast: Sabine Azéma, Jean-François Balmer, Jonathan Genet

Synopsis: A failed law student falls for the daughter of the landlady at the boarding house to which he has retreated to cram for his re-sits.

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Cosmos, Polish director Andrzej Zulawski’s final work, is a frustrating absurdist comedy with a bare bones plot that’s filled with near-farcical situations and an awful lot of florid verbalising.   What story there is revolves around a lanky, failed law student and aspiring novelist named Witold (Jonathan Genet) who retreats to a boarding house in Portugal with his friend, Fuchs (Johan Libereau), to cram for his re-sits.

As with most movie boarding houses, the staff and residents of the one frequented by Witold and his friend are an eclectic and eccentric lot.   The landlady, Madame Woytis (Sabine Azema) has a tendency to freeze whenever she becomes over-excited, while her garrulous husband (Jean-Francois Balmer – Lucky Luke) has a habit of reverting to a strange kind of baby talk, and the maid (Clementine Pons) has a disfigured lip which captures the director’s attention more than it does most of the film’s characters.   Lena (Victoria Guerra), the landlady’s daughter, is a lissom beauty with whom Witold is immediately smitten, but she is also unfortunately a newlywed.   When Witold isn’t hankering after Lena, or working feverishly on his novel, he’s puzzling over his encounter with a dead bird he found hanging from the branch of a tree.

The significance of the dead bird – or anything else in Cosmos, for that matter – is never explained.  It’s as if Zulawski’s sole purpose in making the film was simply to frustrate and confound his audience. The entire movie is confusing and meaningless, and those with no time for absurdist comedy will find the whole thing pretentious and unfunny.   Jonathan Genet flings himself into the role of Witold with vigour and enthusiasm, and is strangely reminiscent of Richard Grant in Withnail & I, but even his insistent energy becomes irritating after a while.

(Reviewed 13th September 2016)

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