The Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, who died of cancer in February, was one of the most relentlessly inquisitive and idiosyncratic human beings ever to step behind a movie camera. His films were ferocious, ambitious and often ridiculous (1981’s berserk marriage-drama-with-tentacles ‘Possession’ is perhaps his best known). Zulawski’s swansong, ‘Cosmos’, is no different – entrancing, frustrating and utterly singular.
It’s a modernised adaptation of Polish author Witold Gombrowicz’s 1965 novel, in which a pair of well-off young men arrive at a small-town hostel to spend a few days. There, they encounter mysteries – a sparrow hanging from a tree, a noose around its neck; a scorch mark on a wall. The pair decide to mount a kind of artistic, intellectualised investigation.
As with all of Zulawski’s work, ‘Cosmos’ is essentially unclassifiable, and attempting to summarise it is a fool’s errand. But it is, at times, astonishingly beautiful – the closing credits sequence alone is lovelier than some entire movies. If self-aware, ultra-arch arthousery isn’t your bag, give it a miss. If you’re looking for a good, weird, often very funny time, don’t miss it.