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Zanussi's film follows its questing hero, a physics student, through his twenties. A meditation on the human condition, its title is taken from medieval philosophy. The hero's development is episodic and familiar: student days, first sexual encounter, the death of a friend, a marriage that falters and recovers, economic security - a development marked by the gradual abandoning of his search for absolutes. With maturity comes a limiting of horizons and the beginning of decline. The film's depth and individual perception stem from its background of physics, mathematics and medicine, which transforms it into an objective look at the human species. The rapid editing and self-conscious technique is sometimes irritating, but more often proves sufficiently provocative to hold attention.

By: CPe

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