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Set against the forest landscape of the Polish-Czech borders, Agnieszka Holland’s ‘feminist black comedy’ is also a thriller examining a sequence of bizarre murders.

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Dir Agnieszka Holland
Prod Krzysztof Zanussi, Janusz Wąchała
Scr Olga Tokarczuk, Agnieszka Holland
With Agnieszka Mandat, Wiktor Zborowski, Miroslav Krobot
Poland-Germany-Czech Republic-Sweden-Slovakia
Sales Beta Cinema

Featuring a magnetic central performance, Agnieszka Holland’s Berlin Film Festival award winner is an anarchist, feminist black comedy and ecological thriller. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Olga Tokarczuk, ‘spoor’ refers to the track of a hunted animal. Janina Duszejko, a crusader for animal rights, lives alone with her two dogs on the Polish-Czech border. One day, they disappear. Janina subsequently becomes convinced that a spate of unexplained murders might just be revenge exacted by persecuted wildlife upon the hunting community. However, local police and dignitaries discount her views as those of a crazy old woman. Agnieszka Mandat gives a striking performance as Janina, whose suspicions lead her to the local male-dominated hunting club. Like much of the film, it is symbolic of the current political situation in Poland, which recently relaxed the laws on environmental protection.

Peter Hames


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