Four Nights With Anna



Cannes, Directors' Fortnight

CANNES -- Alas, even fans of legendary Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski (1982's "Moonlighting"), who've been waiting since 1991 for the master's next film, will be disappointed by "Four Nights With Anna," the barren fruit of that long gestation period.

A hyper-minimalist story about Leon Okrasa, a sad sack who works in the crematorium of a hospital in a small Polish town, the film is an exercise in tedium marked by only the tiniest of redeeming moments.

Okrasa develops an obsession with Anna, a nurse whom he spies on from afar. He finally decides to make his move, but unfortunately he can only approach the object of his desire when she is in a state of drugged sleep.

During each of his four clandestine visits, Okrasa marks his presence by a little gift, such as sewing a button on her sweater, painting her toenails, or fixing her cuckoo clock. But these dramatic highlights are so sparse that they come to seem like manna in the desert, greedily scooped up by a famished audience.

Some narrative "experimentation" with chronology (it is difficult to tell whether they are flashbacks or flash-forwards) only serve to underline all that the film lacks in energy or dash.