‘Spoor’ Review: Hunters in the Snow


“Spoor”, directed by Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland and her daughter Kasia Adamik, remained without an American release for almost four years. At the New York Film Festival in the fall after its premiere in February 2017, critic Amy Taubin, one of her many masters, presented it as perhaps her favorite film of the decade. She interpreted it as a politically charged criticism of the Polish patriarchate.

Such high praise for a feature that is not widely used in the U.S. leaves a slight footprint on a skeptic, especially after spending time in the dark, snowy landscapes of the film.

“Spoor” is a dream of nature that revolves around a riddle. The focus is on Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandate), who lives alone in rural Poland and loves animals. (She refuses to be called Janina by her first name.) More than fleeting, she uses astrology to measure people. After her dogs disappear, she takes schoolchildren she is teaching English on a potentially traumatic nightly “field trip” to look for them. She is constantly locking horns with hunters and asking a high-ranking priest why “thou shalt not kill” does not apply to killing animals. Then the hunters begin to die.

“Spoor” is sensationally atmospheric. The deep bass of the woodwinds; the pictures of deer with empty eyes that look like they are conspiring; the use of limited outside light; A wintry environment that is so creepy that the green greens and mandate, even when the action flashes on June, are momentarily unrecognizable – all on an original level.

However, the structure seems counterproductive, even confusing, elliptical, and the timing of the flashbacks confuses the point of view. This is a unit that plays tricks on the “who”.

Not rated. In Polish and English with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 8 minutes. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.



Robert Dunfee