United States of Love | 2016 Berlin Intl. Film Festival Review

Certain Women: Wasilewski Explores Enlightenment and Despair

It was 1990, and the climate was changing. Or so begins Polish director Tomas Wasilewski’s third feature, United States of Love, which chooses to focus on four somewhat related women from the same apartment complex during significant political changes during the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. Accompanying their growing sense of freedom is a nagging element of dissatisfaction as they attempt to pursue fantasies and desires, often resulting in a disquieting mix of euphoria and despair. Arrestingly photographed in flat, sterile palettes with intermittent splotches of vibrant color, theirs is a universe just experiencing the tingle of life following deadening paralysis, with emotions like reawakened limbs still struggling to obtain an originally appointed purpose. Coldly observational, the film is sometimes curiously unsympathetic in its depiction of women experiencing glancing notions of freedom but hopelessly realized they’re still chained to incredibly limiting options.
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