Szamanka (Chamanka) (1996)
Szamanka (Chamanka) (1996)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Critic Reviews for Szamanka (Chamanka)
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Audience Reviews for Szamanka (Chamanka)
Andrzej ?u?awski's work is not user-friendly. A viewer is not able to simply watch many of his films - the viewer must be willing to proactively think and allow themselves to be pulled into the film as it unfolds. This is political and cinematic art. Szamanka will be far too explicit and disturbing for most, but there is a great deal of merit to be found here. I believe this film was largely banned in Eastern Europe due to its graphic depiction of sexuality and criticism of Catholicism and traditional views on morality -- particularly how these relate to Poland and Polish culture. This is all cinematic metaphor and, while it may be offensive, it has a point of view that should not be dismissed or ignored. Andrzej Jaroszewicz's cinematography is amazing and Iwona Petry delivers a fascinating, compulsive and hysterical performance of insanity and obsession.
There are a few things I can say about this movie. They are: Sex, talking shaman corpse, and she eats his brain. But mostly sex. And a crazy woman. But there is just.. a lot of sex in the film. There is so much and it all just follows the same routine that eventually it gets grueling and boring. To be fair, I downloaded a subtitle track to this movie that was pretty inferior, so only half of the movie's dialogue made sense to me, which is why I'm giving it an extra half star here. I can tell that the director was trying to get at something with this movie; it really feels like he is trying. However, this movie was just not enjoyable for me, and did not sit well after I finished watching. I must say though that the soundtrack to this film is pretty amazing, though the director's use of the sound in the film gets grating and annoying - the music will start getting really loud and then just complete disappear. After about an hour of this though, it gets tiring to watch. At two hours, it is lengthy and frustratingly repetitive.
I couldn't figure out what the hell this was about. At times it seemed to be about sexuality, relationships, other times about politics, and other times about morality, but the whole thing was so insane and exaggerated that I could never find a unifying theme in any of it. It all appears to be a confused mess. The most reasonable thing I could say about it is that it is about how stifling societal rules and obligations are to individuals searching for freedom. This film has all the Zulawski cliches: insane, impulsive characters, hysterical, screeching dialogue, a droning soundtrack, hypersexuality, dark and interesting cinematography, and the never-ending sense of impending doom. It can still be an interesting watch, but for the director's fans only.
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