Cosmos is the final movie from Andrzej Żuławski before his death earlier this year, and is an outpouring of the filmmaker’s brain as frustrating as it is crazy.
Witold (Jonathan Genet) has recently failed his law exams and his friend Fuchs (Johan Libérau) has quit his fashion job. They both take some time away and move in to a family guest house with eccentric owners. Witold falls in love with Lena (Victória Guerra), the married daughter of the house owners. He also becomes obsessed with finding out who is hanging animals around the area.
Honestly, giving a plot summary like this is a little bit misleading, as Cosmos doesn’t really have a plot. Cosmos is stitched together from random scenes that have little to no bearing on each other. It doesn’t really head anywhere and it doesn’t seem concerned about doing so. It’s a little bit of a mystery, a small dose of a romance, a dash of holiday farce (especially when the score comes in before completely cutting out again), and it’s a smearing of absurd comedy. It’s also not really any of these. We can’t tell you what it is or what it’s really about as nothing seems to mean anything and we’re not convinced Zulawski had a point to it either. It seems like he was just happy putting whatever popped into his head up on screen.
It’s absurd. It’s over the top and senseless. This would be ok if there was enjoyment to be had from all of this, but unfortunately there isn’t very much. The film only occasionally manages to hit funny, like when the entire household crawl across the floor picking up peas. The characters are probably the most entertaining part of the film, and the cast do gamely throw themselves into their performances, though they’re less characters and more figures for Żuławski to funnel his brand of absurdity through. Witold, with hair as floppy as Hugh Grant’s in a sauna, is prone to outbursts of violence or Gollum impressions. Fuchs comes back from unseen nights out with unexplained bruises. The guest house owner Madame Woytis (Sabine Azéma) becomes like a statue when she gets too excited. There is a character who dresses like Tintin. Nobody really talks like a real human and it sometimes feels like they aren’t even talking to each other. You could drop into any scene and have as much idea about what is going on as someone who has watched the film from the start. A bit of absurdity can be fun, but when it’s not really entertaining or interesting then an hour and forty minutes of it can seem quite tiring.
Cosmos is a disappointing swansong from Andrej Żuławski. The absurd outpourings of his mind unfortunately don’t add up to much. One for fans only.
COSMOS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ANDREJ ŻUŁAWSKI / SCREENPLAY: ANDREJ ŻUŁAWSKI / STARRING: JONATHAN GENET, JOHAN LIBÉRAU, VICTÓRIA GUERRA, SABINE AZÉMA / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 10TH