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Film Review: “Love Express: The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk” Adds a Sympathetic Light to the Life and Artistry of a Bold and Groundbreaking Director

Written by: Adam Vaughn | August 20th, 2020

Film poster: “Love Express: The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk”

Love Express: The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk (Kuba Mikurda, 2018) 2½ out of 4 stars.

We as an audience in the early 2000’s have reached a point where we celebrate and recognize those directors who rose to fame in the early/middle years of the 20th century (1920-1970). We have honored and acclaimed directors such as Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra and Orson Welles, some of the many directors who revolutionized filmmaking as we know it. After them, in walks Walerian Borowczyk, a Polish director of the ’60s through the ’80s with a vision that only he dared explore. Love Express: The Mysterious Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk is a film that does more highlighting of the work of this mysterious director and less delving into the man behind that work. While it does have a vast amount of information and insight into his films and their reception, I still walked away from the movie asking myself, “Who in the world was Walerian Borowczyk?”

Love Express: The Mysterious Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk is a documentary film by Kuba Mikurda (making his debut), in which he interviews famous directors inspired by Borowczyk, as well as members of his cast and crew from numerous projects. The film covers Borowczyk’s major film achievements, his beginnings as an animation artist, and the events that led to his “disappearance” from the industry. The film does a tremendous amount of explaining of Borowczyk’s style, the obstacles he faced with the intimacy of his work, and had special emphasis on the groundbreaking reviews of his films as they came out in various countries.

Film director Terry Gilliam holding his drawing of Walerian Borowczyk in LOVE EXPRESS: THE DISAPEARANCE OF WALERIAN BOROWCZYK ©Altered innocence

What I felt was missing from this documentary was Borowczyk, himself. Very briefly do we learn of the director’s life growing up, who he was as a person, and what kind of person he was outside of the studio. The film serves more as an ode to his film work, and less about his personal history. Perhaps this was on purpose, but even so, it limits the scope of the movie. With more information about Walerian Borowczyk as a human being, it would make for an incredible film.

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Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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