Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War picked up a slew of prizes at the recent European Film Awards, and is already being talked about as a major contender for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a prize he won with his previous film, Ida (2015).
The Cold War from which the film takes its title lasted the best part of half a century and impacted upon the lives of millions. Rather than summoning the broad sweep of history, Pawlikowski has chosen to fashion his story in miniature. For him, the political clearly lies with the personal. The fact that his modest tale of ill-starred lovers, set between the years 1949 and 1964, is able to resonate across such a broad canvas is a remarkable achievement, particularly given its running time of a shade under ninety minutes.