Four Nights With Anna by Jerzy Skolimowski

Cannes Film Fest 2008–Famed Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski's quirky romantic fable, the aptly titled “Four Nights With Anna,” premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in Directors Fortnight (as opening night). It's his first feature in 17 years.

In a small town in Poland, Leon Okrasa, 40, works in the hospital crematory. In the past, he witnessedperhaps committedthe brutal rape of Anna, now 30 and working as a nurse in the same hospital. They live near one another, she in a neighboring hostel for workers, he in a run-down cottage close by. Leon spies on Anna. But he wants more. His obsession grows. He starts to steal into her room, night after night, just to watch her asleep in the moonlight. Little by little, secretly, he begins to play a part in her lifesewing on a missing button, mending her clock, replacing spoiled food in her fridgemixing powdered sleeping pills into her sugar. Leon is on the point of losing control. What is he planning Another attack A former convict, hes tormented by memories of trial and incarceration. Anna has started to notice strange things happening around her, but believes shes imagining them. Then Leon is arrested sneaking into Annas room through the window. A new trial begins, during which he proves his deep feelings for Anna. Perhaps its true love after all.

Jerzy Skolimowski's Statement

“Four Nights with Anna” is an intimate film. It deals with an intimate, off-center subject: a man sneaking into a womans room at night while shes asleep. The stylistic approachattention to detail, focus on the simple aspects of everyday existenceis intimate as well. Basic, honest, nuanced and spare. My intent was to render full credibility to a seemingly outlandish story. To explore the rational in what on the surface would appear irrational and psychotic.

The story represents a basic need for contact with another human being, all the more desperate in a society that seems to build more and more barriers between people. And the courage, sometimes verging on insanity, required to bring them down. What you see is an eccentric story, unsettling, yet genuinely romantic.

The tone of the film is nuanced, discrete and without affectationstark, Polish reality treated with a naturalistic yet poet approach. The structure is repetitive and elliptical, favoring the suggestive over the explanatory.