Betrayals of the Heart and Everything Else in Kawasaki's Rose

Kawasaki’s Rose pivots around a long-suppressed bombshell, yet there’s little overblown spectacle to Polish filmmaker Jan Hrebejk’s graceful drama about psychiatrist Pavel (Martin Huba), who, on the eve of receiving an illustrious award for his renowned work as a dissident to Czechoslovakia’s communist regime, is exposed as having been a collaborator. That revelation reverberates throughout Pavel’s household, given that his treachery led to the forced exile of an artist (Antonin Kratochvil) with intimate ties to Pavel’s wife, Jana (Daniela Kolárová), and recently ill daughter, Lucie (Lenka Vlasáková). Again teaming with his Divided We Fall screenwriter Petr Jarchovsky, Hrebejk positions this earth-rattling news as the centerpiece of his understated inquiry into memory, judgment, treachery, and the multifaceted nature of truth. An introductory thread involving Pavel’s adulterous son-in-law, Ludek (Milan Mikulcík), furthers the story’s complex portrait of betrayal, and though that subplot is somewhat abruptly dropped during the second half, its lack of proper resolution is in keeping with a narrative uninterested in neat-and-tidy outcomes. Performed and directed with assured elegance, Kawasaki’s Rose> is a film that recognizes life as a tumultuous mess of both noble and base intensions and actions, as well as one that understands the thorny tragedies such chaos often leaves in its wake.

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