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Wednesday, Jul 6 2016

His first film in 15 years and the last before his recent death, Andrzej Zulawski's surreal whatsit Cosmos is very much a Zulawski picture, and you can't take that away from it. Witold (Jonathan Genet) is a failed lawyer and struggling novelist who spirals into a something resembling existential madness after discovering a dead sparrow hanging from a rope in the forest. Along with his circuit-queen companion Fuchs (Johan Libereau), Witold rents a room in a guesthouse run by the fire-haired Madame Woytis (Sabine Azéma), where Witold becomes obsessed with Wolytis' newly married daughter Lena (Victória Guerra). That obsession is probably the closest the film comes to recognizable human behavior, for better or worse; to paraphrase the Firesign Theatre, it's all bozos in this bed & breakfast. Zulawski has always excelled at getting his casts to make strange, exaggerated faces — his cult favorite Possession being the classic example — and the absurdist Cosmos has no shortage of bulging eyes, clenched teeth, and visages to haunt your nightmares. (It's also the week's second film to involve lynched cats — just a single domestic cat this time rather than Last Cab to Darwin's treeful of desiccated ferals. But still, boo.) The free-associative Cosmos is either pure nonsense, or it contains all the sense in the universe. Your mileage may vary.


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Sherilyn Connelly


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