Directed by: Andrzej Zulawski
Starring: Sabine Azema, Jean-Francois Balmer, Jonathan Genet, Johan Libereau
When a film name checks the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Jean-Paul Sartre, you probably know what you are in for. And that is the case with Andrzej Zulawski’s last film after sadly losing his battle to cancer this February, Cosmos. The arthouse director’s last offering centres on law student Witold (Jonathan Genet) and his fashion obsessed best friend, Fuchs (Johan Libereau), who start to find mysterious signs and dead animals hanging around the grounds of the family guest house they are staying in.
Cosmos lives by its own intangible logic that will make very little sense to those not well versed in arthouse cinema. No one acts like a real human being. In one particularly bizarre scene, Witold beats his chest like a silverback and then gorges himself on salad by the handful. No one recreates, no one cares and nor will you. The characters that rattle around in Zulawski’s universe are driven by nonsensical and questionable motives. Madame Woytis (Sabine Azema) is a hysterical mess who never stops being infuriatingly irritating. Her husband, Leon (Jean-Francois Balmer), spends the whole film endlessly nattering on about basically nothing. As for the two central characters, Witold and Fuchs, they never feel like actual people, which dispels any possibility of relating to or caring about them. Witold’s “revision” goes no further than opening a General Law book and Fuchs’ vaguely has something to do with fashion.Zulawski is as confident behind the camera as you would expect. His camera frantically attempts to catch up with the maniacal absurdity that is abundant in the narrative. Yet it never feels like a film, instead it all feels like a stage show and sadly not a good one.
The director has discussed his disregard for the general cinema going audience who he believes need everything spelt out to them. These people belong to “Planet Cinema” as Zulawski describes it. So, if you’re not a fan of arthouse than you’ll want to stay well clear, and even if you are a fan of the genre, you might feel over-served. There are slight glimpses of humour here and there but other than that, there’s nothing engaging or enjoyable about Cosmos.