Jerzy Skolimowski's Barrier is centered around a restless medical student, living in Warsaw. He has just graduated and is ready to go out into the world. In the course of one day, we follow this man on his aimless wanderings, as he struggles to define his own existence or place in post-war Poland. Barrier is a intoxicating, surreal journey in which plot means very little. Barrier is a perfect title for Skolimowski's film, as it deconstructs not only the barriers between the young and old generations but the working class and intellectual classes of society. Barrier is equal parts cynical and romantic, as Skolimowski seems to be fearful of his countries future, though still confident in his people's resolve. Barrier is a film which is tonally very playful, with the easiest comparison being something you would see in a Godard film. Our medical student and the girl he meets on his journey are photogenic and full of life. On the other hand, the cinematography of Barrier is cold and sterile with precise, beautiful imagery that feels reminiscent of Antonioni. These two distinct elements of Barrier create a great contrast and further nail home Skolimowski's thematic intentions. Barrier seems to suggest that youthful exuberance towards the future is both a blessing and curse, with Skolimowski contrasting his cynical viewpoint of post-war Poland with the romanticism of youth. Jerzy Skolimowski's Barrier is a challenging piece of cinema that has a lackadaisical pace but this is an incredibly poignant film from a masterful filmmaker who achieves more in 80 minutes than most films do in twice the running time.
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