Night Train

Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s 1959 ensemble drama comes from a transitional period in Polish cinema, when the self-conscious art-making of the Polish Film School (epitomized for many by Andrzej Wajda’s war trilogy) was giving way to the jazzier stylization associated with Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski. Set on a cross-country train, it shifts among multiple story lines, which converge when police appear and announce that an unidentified killer is hiding onboard. From that point the film turns into a heavy-handed social critique, as the passengers begin to suspect one another, but until then the flashy camerawork, charismatic acting, and supercool atmosphere are irresistible. Noted jazz musician Andrzej Trzaskowski wrote the score. In Polish with subtitles.