Polish director Andrzej Żuławski was never a huge tabloid figure. He didn't see his name in tabloid headlines and he's not a household name. However, his death earlier today of cancer at the age of 75 has gone anything but unnoticed, espcially within the horror community.
Anybody who has seen Żuławski's 1981 film POSSESSION, starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani, knows that the man could craft nightmares out of thin air, defying the mainstream at every step of the way. His films were infrequent and controversial, but well received by fans and critics alike. The influence of his films like THE DEVIL, THE THIRD PART OF THE NIGHT, and FIDELITY is notable everywhere including visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who sent out this heartfelt tweet this morning:
Zulawski's producer had approached me to design a monster for the master in his next movie. I wanted to work w him so much...— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 17, 2016
Żuławski's final film, COSMOS, was just picked up yesterday for North American distribution by Kino Lorber. In the film:
Witold just failed his law-school exams and Fuchs has just quit his job at a Parisian fashion company. Arriving for a few days away at a so-called family guesthouse, they are greeted by a series of unsettling omens: a sparrow hanging in the forest, then a piece of wood in the same condition, and finally signs on the ceiling and in the garden. In this guest house there is also a baleful mouth, that of the maid, and a perfect mouth, that of the young woman of the house with whom Witold falls madly in love. Unfortunately, she has just married an architect of the most respectable sort. But is the young woman equally respectable? The third hanging, that of the cat, is Witold's doing. Why did he do it? And above all - will the fourth hanging be that of a human?
The film, his first in 15 years, could hardly be a compensation for a life lost, but it is the swan song of a legacy of challenging, important cinema. Our thoughts go out to his friends, his family, and his fans.