(aka "Chamanka" )


directed by Andrzej Zulawski
Poland/France/Switzerland 1996


Director Andrzej Zulawski's adaptation of Manuela Gretkowska's controversial screenplay tells the story of an anthropology professor Michal's (Boguslaw Linda) who as the movie progresses develops two overwhelming obsessions. The first one is a mummified, 3,000 year-old, perfectly preserved body of a Shaman he and his colleagues have recently dragged out of a swamp, and the second – an enigmatic student (Iwona Petry) he meets by chance at Krakow Railway Station. In exactly a minute after they meet, they have passionate but joyless sex "The Last Tango in Paris" style. The girl whose name we'll never learn has been known as "The Italian" – she is not an Italian, she just used to work at the Italian Restaurant and make the best Pizza in town (or so she says). She emits some primitive, dangerous sexuality - she is unpredictable, swift and reckless. Very soon she and the professor are engaged in the affair that grows dark and explicit, and the movie enters "In The Realm of Senses" territory which prepares you for a very predictable and (if you ask me) ridiculous ending. Between plentiful (and boring) erotic scenes, Michal tries to solve the mystery of the Shaman (remember, it is his first obsession?) There is one absolutely comical scene with Michal and his colleagues chanting and dancing around an indifferent mummy. There are also some young men running the streets of Krakow, screaming and firing the guns (I believe that it is supposed to represent the director's comments and criticism of the Polish Politics – but he lost me there). By the end of the movie Michal realizes that he must run from "The Italian" because (as he correctly guessed) "she is death" but the sexually voracious and violently disturbed girl has another plans for him...

Excerpt from Galina at IMdb located HERE

Theatrical Release: 10 May 1996 (Poland); 19 March 1997 (France)

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DVD Review: Premier Digital - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Premier Digital

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:52:28 (4% PAL speedup)

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Russian overdub (Dolby Digital 5.1); French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles Russian, English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Premier Digital

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Director biography (text in Russian)

DVD Release Date: 2002

Chapters 20




Premier Digital licensed the French dubbed version of this Polish film (it was co-produced by Compagnie des Films and Canal Plus Poland). The non-anamorphic transfer is a PAL-NTSC conversion with ghosting which is noticeable since there is a lot of movement as both actors and camera are constantly mobile. The softness and high contrasts of dark and bright scenes is due to the use of a print (with reel change marks) rather than intermediate source.

There seems to be no official Polish or French DVD releases so the Russian release is both the only English friendly source and the only digital source for this recent yet controversial film. With the recent release of his older films THE SILVER GLOBE and the upcoming LE DIABEL, lets hope this Zulawski film gets better exposure (hopefully in a new transfer rather than a conversion/port of this release).

 - Eric Cotenas


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Screen Captures

subtitle sample (not cropped; some subtitles - single line and second line - appear on bottom matte)



















reel change mark (harsh contrasts of transfer are the result of a print source)



DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


Premier Digital

Region 0 - NTSC



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