Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 26th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Poland, June 3rd, 1975
Director: Walerian Borowczzy
Cast: Grazyna Dlugolecka, Jerzy Zelnik, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Roman Wilhelmi
DVD Released: 2003
Approximate Running Time: 130 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Polish
DVD Release: Nouveaux Pictures
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: $31.95
Synopsis: Eva has fallen in love with the new lodger Lukasz Niepolomski who has moved into her parents place. Their brief affair is quickly ended when he is unable to get a divorce from his wife. They are later reunited when he is wounded during a duel. Eva stays with him and nurses him back to health. Lukasz goes to Rome to once and for all finalize his divorce so that he can finally be with Eva. While in Rome his is imprisoned and when Eva hears about this she rushes to be by his side. When she arrives she soon discovers that his has already left. Eva spends the next few years traveling around Europe looking for Lukasz.
The Story of Sin is loosely based on Stefan Zeromski novel Dzieje grzechu. It is hard to believe that the same person that directed this poetic period drama would later direct in the same year the borderline pornographic film The Beast. The subject matter in Story of Sin is in line with the rest of the films Walerian Borowczzy directed except for one major difference and that is the subtle and not pervasive way in which the story is told.
The film is filled with lush photography and long languid shots that are rarely interrupted by kick edits. The films strongest asset is actress Grazyna Dlugolecka who made her acting debut in the film as Eva. Her transformation from a naïve young woman into a victim who has lost all of herself worth is heartbreaking and tragic. Throughout the film her character meets several shady men who make promises to her that they never planned to keep.
The plot starts off slowly and it doesn’t really start to pick up steam tell about half way through the film. Outside of the lead actress Grazyna Dlugolecka the rest of the cast feels like they are sleep walking through their roles. Despite being one of Walerian Borowczzy’s more accessible films The Story of Sin is not one of his stronger films as its struggles at times to find its direction.
Nouveaux Pictures presents The Story of Sin in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The source print used is at times a little rough around the edges as there are many instances of nicks and scratches as well as noticeable cigarette burns. The colors fare better as there are no problems with colors bleeding into each other. Overall this transfer despite its flaws is more then watch able.
This release comes with only one audio option the film’s original Polish language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio sounds too thin at times and I had to adjust the volume a few times. There is also some noticeable hiss throughout. The audio while not in the greatest shape is more than serviceable. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
The extras for this release include three text essay’s “Dzieje Grzechu 2000”, “Stefan Zeromski” and “Father Walerien of the Devils: The Strange Case of Wayward Auteur”. All three essay’s are well written and informative. Other extras include two interviews one with actress Grazyna Dlugolecka who discusses how she got the role of Eva and working with director Walerian Borowczzy. The second interview is with Walerian Borowczy who discusses sex and eroticism in his films. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Walerian Borowczzy expert Daniel Bird who is filled with many great facts and stories about Borowczyk. The audio commentary does suffer from many instances of dead silence as Daniel Bird disappears from time to time.
Nouveaux Pictures The Story of Sin DVD comes with some interesting extras that offer more insight into the film The Story of Sin and while their audio/video presentation for the film is less than stellar is more than adequate until a more definitive release of this film comes along.