Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End) made his fourth NYFF appearance with this lyrical, darkly funny, altogether remarkable portrait of five Polish construction workers living in London while renovating the home of a wealthy Polish businessman. The time is December, 1981, and as the workers work, the hard-fought Solidarity movement is collapsing at home–news that the pragmatic foreman, Nowak (Jeremy Irons), elects to keep to himself, while conniving a series of ingenious methods for keeping up appearances. Winner of Best Screenplay at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, this exile’s riposte to Andrzej Wajda’s insider Man of Marble and Man of Iron–inspired, the director has said, by renovations at his own London flat–finds Skolimowski in top form, and Irons (in one of his first major roles) at his deadpan best.
“Tight, urgent and compelling, the film also boasts the most extraordinary shoplifting sequences since Bresson’s Pickpocket.”
–NYFF20 program note
“Possesses such clarity of vision and simplicity that it seems to have been made in one uninterrupted burst of creative energy. It's a small, nearly perfect work of its kind.”
–Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“****. Moonlighting is a wickedly pointed movie that takes a simple little story, tells it with humor and truth, and turns it into a knife in the side of the Polish government.”
–Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times