[Berlin Review] United States of Love

It’s the dawn of a new era in ’90s Poland. The Wall is no more; ideas, news, and commodities from the West are coming in hard and fast, along with messages from family members working in West Germany, taped-over pornos on VHS. Yet those vague promises of freedom also reveal a disquieting undercurrent and the sense that, whatever the future may bring, there’s a harsh present that still needs to be reckoned with.

This is especially apparent in the isolated town that Tomasz Wasilewski picks as the setting of his austerely accomplished third feature United States of Love — removed from the city and shot grey-on-grey against miles of wintry landscapes, these apartment complexes feel like a world of their own. A world that those seeking change, consciously or otherwise, will also find capable of oppressively folding onto itself.

Perfectly summed up by the local priest (“Lord, I bring to you my narrow borders.
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