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Aka: The Knight (USA: review title)
Director: Lech Majewski
Year: 1980
Country: Poland
Runtime: 81 minutes
Genre: Adventure / Drama / Fantasy / Romance

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"The Knight" is a haunting, austere parable that has been directed with assurance by Lech Majewski, whose flair for starkly poetic compositions often manages to outshine the elliptical quality of his material. Made in 1980, it has a medieval setting. It follows a knight on his quest for a mythical harp, one which will supposedly heal the ills of his nation.
Questions of faith help to shape the knight's journey, as he encounters various priests and questions their dedication to their calling. One priest is so moved by the knight's mission that, finding the knight lying ravaged by a terrible disease, he decides to absorb the illness himself. He lies face down on the sand in a crucified posture, at which point the knight's sores are suddenly healed. These same lesions cover the priest when, moments later, he arises.
Mr. Majewski demonstrates considerable flair for this sort of imagery, and his film retains its spare, arresting visual style throughout. Only late in the fable, when a band of seemingly reborn people cavort on the beach and form what resembles a conga line, is the spell broken. Though the mysticism of the material takes precedence over its politics, the film's central metaphor has clear pro-Solidarity implications. - Janet Maslin,

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