Set in the fictional country of Foland, Ubu, a poor drunkard, seeks change in his countries Monarchy. Executing a plan with his conniving wife, Ubu overthrows the nobility and becomes the leader of his country, announcing democracy for all. Ubu becomes too interested in greed and power, leading to the country suffering even more than before. Piotr Szulkin's 'King Ubu' is a complex, politically-pointed farce critical of Poland's government. I'd be lying if I said I grasped all the ideas and commentary which the film offers, but this is an expertly done, highly enjoyable, farce nonetheless. Based off a famous polish play, the film is shot in a very open, stage-like style, where Sulzkin's camera free-flows around the characters and the action. The film has a few musical numbers and the staging and visual design of the film is just breathtaking, filling the frame in almost every shot. It's a dingy, dirty setting where corrupted politicians, foreign influences, human greed, and poverty greatly influence this so-called democracy, making it no better than the same authoritarian society which existed beforehand. Full of absurdest humor and outlandish, yet demented performances, "King Ubu' is a fascinating farce which glows in its childishly bawdy production design, and light, yet directed tone. I have a feeling I would love this even more if I knew more about the politics in Poland. Not a good place to start for Piotr Szulkin.
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