How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Nov 20, 2019


A sprawling, sweeping period romance that plays out over the course of fifteen years and across several national borders, Cold War is also, for acclaimed filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski, a highly personal work. His own parents’ marriage served as Pawlikowski’s primary inspiration for the breathtakingly photographed, Oscar-nominated film, in which a conductor and a singer fall madly in love, only to find themselves repeatedly torn apart by the Iron Curtain, as well as their own strong wills. Among the supplements on our new edition of the movie is a conversation between Pawlikowski and fellow filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu in which the Cold War writer-director opens up about his experience of his parents’ tempestuous relationship. In the above excerpt, Pawlikowski discusses his emotional identification with his often-feuding mother and father, and his adherence to Jean Renoir’s humanist dictum of “Everyone has their reasons” in translating their story into a film that refuses to privilege one lovers’ perspective over the other’s.