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dir. Jerzy Skolimowski, cast. Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner / 2010 / Poland, Hungary, Ireland, Norway / 83min

Official Selection Venice, Venice International Film Festival 2010

Captured in Afghanistan by US forces, Mohammed (Vincent Gallo), is subject to interrogation and rendition. In the course of his journey through an unnamed European country, he escapes across a snow-covered landscape, where he attempts to live off the land, eventually having his wounds tended by a deaf and mute woman (Emmanuelle Seigner). Essential Killing confirms the authority of Jerzy Skolimowski’s return to feature direction with an allegorical tale amplified by striking mise-en-scène and a compelling music score. Virtually without dialogue, its simple and in some ways traditional narrative recalls The Fugitive but transformed through imaginative cinematography (by Adam Sikora, who photographed Skolimowski’s Four Nights with Anna, clever use of natural imagery, and perfect timing. Skolimowski provides a powerful reminder that in any conflict, one side does not hold a prerogative on human feeling and experience.

Essential Killing is released by Artificial Eye across the UK on 1st April