Citizen P.

Jerzy Stefan Stawinski adapted his own novel, Piszczyk’s Sad Destiny Continued, for Andrzej Kotkowski’s film about a hard-luck hero in postwar Poland. Early in his adult life, Piszcyk gets thrown in prison by postwar communist authorities for supposedly not adapting to the new ways of life; later, his girlfriend hails him as a victim of Stalinism and a revolutionary activist, which leads to another arrest. Where are you going? Right or left? asks a stranger toward the end of the film, after the hero has related all his mishaps in flashback formthe tragicomic misadventures of a man who usually gets in trouble for doing what he thinks is expected of him. I don’t know, Citizen P. replies, and the film’s wry position is not to know either. Watchable if predictable, as well as bit contrived in spots, this dark comedy is certainly Polish to the core in its caustic ironies. (JR)

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