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Year: 1962
UK: BFI (Access)
Cast: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Director: Roman Polanski
Country: Poland
Language: Polish (English subtitles)
UK: 94 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild language, violence, nudity and sex references
UK Release Date: 9 April 2004 (Limited Re-release - London)


Roman Polanski's first feature KNIFE IN THE WATER, a masterful study of sexual tension and paranoia, is to be released in a new print.

The story is simplicity itself: a married couple Andrzej (Leon Niemczyk) and Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka) setting forth on a yachting weekend give a lift to an attractive young hitch-hiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz).

During what was intended to be a relaxing break, competition builds between the two men as they vie for the attentions of the alluring young wife. Allegiances shift, jealousy and frustration intensify and none too innocent games are played. Krzysztof Komeda's unnerving jazz score memorably underlines Polanski's vision of menace and desire.

KNIFE IN THE WATER was one of the most outstanding feature debuts of 1960s. A model of economic but richly imaginative filmmaking, it introduced many of the themes that would recur in the director's later work: sexual attraction and insecurity, antagonistic aggression, humiliation and violence.

With just three actors, a boat and an eye-catching expanse of water, Polanski creates one of his most subtle and satisfying films.

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