Knife in the Water [Criterion Collection]


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Noz w Wodzie was not only Polanski's first feature-length film, but it also marked the first screen appearance of Polish actor Zygmunt Malanowicz who played a young student. In fact, the only experienced thespian in the featured trio is Leon Niemczyk as Andrzej, the self-important, somewhat arrogant husband of Kataryna. Andrzej and Kataryna pick up the student as he is hitchhiking and invite him to join them on their boat for an outing. As the threesome head out to open water, the husband and the student start a kind of jealous interaction that keeps Kataryna mildly amused. What began as a macho sparring ends up in a fight that has the student falling overboard and the husband swimming to shore for help. But appearances are deceiving, as the husband will soon discover. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi


Review Text After directing a string of acclaimed shorts, the young Roman Polanski assembled a small crew and mostly unprofessional cast in his native Poland to shoot this full-length thriller. The spare, tense film remains one of Polanski's most striking efforts, a cool, detached character study with stark, high-contrast black-and-white visuals to match. Polanski may have seen himself in the character of the cunning, disaffected drifter, a possibility bolstered by the fact that he dubbed his own voice over Zygmunt Malanowicz's for the film's final cut. Though Polanski was obviously taking cues from the late 1950s/early 1960s work of Michelangelo Antonioni and even Ingmar Bergman, the movie retains a hip, modern feel all its own; throughout his career, Polanski would revisit the concept of the disaffected anti-hero and his tortured relations with women. Knife in the Water brought Polanski to the attention of the European film community, as well as the American Motion Picture Academy, who nominated the film against Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 for Best Foreign Language Film in 1964. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi

Product Details

Release Date
MPAA Rating
NR -- Not rated
1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Dolby Digital Mono
  • USA & territories, Canada
  • English
Number of Discs

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