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Behind the Wall (1971)

Za sciana (original title)
Jan is a young assistant professor in chemistry and a workaholic, whose entire life is dedicated to study and advancement to full professorship. Anna is an unsuccesful science writer who ... See full summary »


Krzysztof Zanussi


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Cast overview:
Maja Komorowska ... Anna
Zbigniew Zapasiewicz ... Jan
Eugenia Herman ... Professor's Secretary
Jadwiga Colonna-Walewska Jadwiga Colonna-Walewska ... Anna's Neighbour
Jan Kreczmar ... Professor
Krzysztof Machowski Krzysztof Machowski ... Krzysztof
Bogdan Niewinowski Bogdan Niewinowski ... Doctor
Marian Glinka ... Paramedic
Piotr Garlicki ... Piotr


Jan is a young assistant professor in chemistry and a workaholic, whose entire life is dedicated to study and advancement to full professorship. Anna is an unsuccesful science writer who turns to Jan for advice and human compassion in a critical moment of mental confusion and nervous exhaustion. Jan, absorbed with his career, remains immune to Anna's clumsy efforts to pierce his defences. Affrayed by her ultimate plea for an embrace, he escapes to his own quarters. In the end Anna makes an unsuccesful suicide attempt and he visits her in the hospital. Written by Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>

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Release Date:

19 October 1971 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Behind the Wall See more »

Filming Locations:

Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zespol Filmowy "Tor" See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A raw and touching study in loneliness
15 February 2017 | by RogerTheMovieManiac88See all my reviews

'Za sciana', an early-career TV production from the legendary Krzysztof Zanussi, truly proved to be a deeply compelling viewing experience. IMDb lists a running time of 56 minutes but the version I viewed online ran for only around half an hour. Although brief in length, there is a simple and stark humanity on show that gives rise to a film that lingers long in one's mind.

The remarkable Maja Komorowska appeared many times in Zanussi's films and here she created another character that touches deeply one's heart. She plays a lonely, uncertain writer who, seeking guidance and the warmth of human compassion, asks a professor around to her lodgings to look at her work. The equally iconic Zbigniew Zapasiewicz would also appear in many of Zanussi's greatest films and here he plays the part of the career-centred academic who is helpful yet oblivious and utterly unprepared for the extent of the young woman's anguish and extreme loneliness. A riveting and hauntingly real little film, the two great actors create an emotional intensity that draws one right into the sad little story as it unfolds. The focus throughout is largely on the faces of Komorowska and Zapasiewicz and they both do a wonderful job in creating nuance, uncertainty, and uncomfortableness in the small, confined setting.

This is another notable accomplishment from Krzysztof Zanussi and one with interesting and frank things to say on the difficulties in communication and connection across the barriers of misunderstanding and self-absorption that can exist as part of humanity and the pursuit and attainment of success and happiness. The power and the plaintive suffering of Maja Komorowska's Anna is something I won't soon forget.

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