Zula’s Shame Versus Wiktor’s Desperation = A Tragic Love

How Zula’s Past Haunts Her

It’s Poland, 1949, and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig) are soon to meet. Zula’s past, revealed as soon as Zula auditions for Wiktor’s performance troop, will keep them apart. And, Wiktor’s brown eyes will cry.

Zula Must Be In Control

Zula wants Wiktor’s interest, but she must be in control. They soon make love, and then problems begin. Men can betray her. Use her. Leave her helpless. Make her the “guilty one.” When a father abuses a daughter, he’s broken her trust. And such girls must be one step ahead of hurt. Hurt’s expected.

Zula’s Distrust & Shame

Zula must protect herself. And one method of self-protection is to think nothing of turning on love before love turns on her. As if she doesn’t care, even though she does. As Wiktor walks away, she screams: “Go fuck yourself, bourgeois wanker. Whatever! If I wanted to, I could fuck you up good and proper.” He stops.

Confusing Wiktor For Her Father

Love isn’t so simple for an abused girl. Wiktor easily becomes her betraying controlling father. We see it when she comes back to Paris in 1957. She’s married an Italian (a “con” for a visa to come to find Wiktor), but “not legally” since they didn’t marry in church. He’s been waiting for her. Wiktor’s always waiting.

Zula Puts The Knife In

“Why so sad?” Wiktor asks when the album is released. Her answer? Zula throws the album (his love) in the trash. She’ll show him. Wiktor will be the jealous one. When he asks again what’s wrong, she says: “Nothing, everything’s great. Michel is a real Master. He fucked me six times in one night.” She stabs him in the heart.

Wiktor’s Frenzied Desperation

When Wiktor can’t find Zula, he storms into Michel’s house: “What did you do to her?” Michel tells him she’s left for Poland. Gone. Leaving him stranded, his face is the picture of total devastation. Zula is the love of Wiktor’s life. And, he can’t live without her. No other woman will do. Wiktor must find her.

Together Only In Death

Zula visits Wiktor in prison. He looks defeated and demoralized. She strokes his face. Sits on his lap. Kisses him. He looks at her and asks, “What have we done?” She promises: “I’ll wait. I’ll get you out of here.”



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Sandra Cohen

I am a psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills. I love my work. I also love to write, mostly about characters in film & their real human struggles.