We continue our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here.
9. Knife in the Water, 1962
The opening shot of Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water is mysterious and hypnotic. It brilliantly sets the tone for the entire movie.
A car rattles down a road in the Polish countryside. The camera is mounted on the hood angled towards the windshield. But we can’t see who’s in the car because the reflection of a trees obscures our view. But after a few moments, the image coheres.
We see a woman driving. She looks prim, almost like a schoolmarm in dark, horn rimmed glasses, with severely cut hair, a dark helmet. Her lips are tight, grim. Next to her sits a man, we presume, her husband. He’s obviously scolding her. But we can’t hear a word because we are still outside the car looking in. After a few tense seconds, the woman downshifts, cruises to a halt, gets out of the car and changes places with the man. Now, he drives. She smolders in wordless anger and humiliation. He is smugly content, in control — of the car and the woman.