Knife in the Water

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Knife in the Water
Nóż w wodzie (movie poster).jpg
Original Polish poster
Directed by Roman Polanski
Produced by Stanislaw Zylewicz
Written by Jerzy Skolimowski
Roman Polański
Jakub Goldberg
Starring Leon Niemczyk
Jolanta Umecka
Zygmunt Malanowicz
Roman Polanski (voice)
Anna Ciepielewska (voice)
Music by Krzysztof T. Komeda
Cinematography Jerzy Lipman
Edited by Halina Prugar-Ketling
Distributed by Zespol Filmowy (Poland)
Kanawha Films Ltd (USA)
Release date(s)
  • 9 March 1962 (1962-03-09)
Running time 94 minutes
Country Poland
Language Polish

Knife in the Water (Polish: ''Nóż w wodzie'') is a 1962 Polish drama film co-written and directed by Roman Polański, which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is Polanski's first feature film, featuring three characters in a story of rivalry and sexual tension.

Plot[edit]

Andrzej (Leon Niemczyk) and Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka) are driving to a lake to go sailing when they come upon a young man (Zygmunt Malanowicz) hitchhiking in the middle of the road. After nearly hitting him, Andrzej invites the young man along. When they arrive at the lake, instead of leaving the young man behind, Andrzej invites him to go sailing with them. The young man accepts the offer, and, not knowing much about sailing, must learn many hard lessons from Andrzej.

Meanwhile, tension gradually builds between Andrzej and the hitchhiker as they vie for the attentions of Krystyna. The title refers to the major turning point in the film when Andrzej taunts the young man with the latter's treasured pocket knife, which is accidentally lost overboard. A fight ensues between Andrzej and the hitchhiker and the latter falls into the water. Andrzej and his wife search for him, but cannot find him and assume that he has drowned, since earlier he said that he could not swim. Andrzej and his wife quarrel about what to do, and Andrzej tries to escape his problems by jumping off the yacht and swimming to shore. When the young man realizes that Andrzej has jumped off the yacht, he comes out from hiding behind a buoy on the lake, and returns to the yacht where Krystyna is drying off and wondering what to do next. Before the young man goes on his way they have a passionate encounter. When Krystyna sails back to the dock, Andrzej is waiting there. He wants to go to the police to report the young man missing. Krystyna tells him that the young man returned, but he remains unconvinced even when Krystyna confesses to having been unfaithful. Andrzej appears confused and the car does not move.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Knife in the Water was shot by Roman Polanski in 1962 using only three actors. It marked Polanski's debut as a feature-length director. Two of the actors (Jolanta Umecka, who plays Krystyna and Zygmunt Malanowicz, who plays the young man) had virtually no previous professional acting experience. Krzysztof Komeda composed the film's music and the featured saxophonist was the Swede Bernt Rosengren.

Being filmed on the water and largely within the confines of a sailboat and liferaft, the film was technically difficult. It joined ranks with other water-plagued films: Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat; J. C. Chandor's All Is Lost; Kevin Costner's Waterworld; James Cameron's Titanic; Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away and Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

Critical reception[edit]

Knife in the Water was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1963 Academy Awards,[1] the first Polish motion picture to receive this kind of recognition. Time used a still from the film, with Umecka and Malanowicz on the verge of a kiss, as the cover of an issue featuring international cinema.[2] The film has been included in lists of the best debut feature films[3] and was ranked #61 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.[4] It has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Home video[edit]

Knife in the Water was released in 2003 as a DVD by The Criterion Collection.[5] The film was released in 1996 as a VHS tape.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 36th Academy Awards (1964) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-03. 
  2. ^ "International Cinema". Time. September 20, 1963. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ "OFCS Top 100: 100 Best First Films". Online Film Critics Society. October 4, 2010. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ "61. Knife in the Water". Empire. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ Knife in the Water (DVD). The Criterion Collection. September 16, 2003. 
  6. ^ Knife in the Water (VHS). Homevision. October 29, 1996. 

External links[edit]