Black Mercedes
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Black Mercedes

For more 2020 AJFF previews, visit atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/two-decades-in-the-making/

“Black Mercedes” tells a stylized story of Poland during World War II with the Holocaust as the backdrop rather than the focus. The film re-creates the dark world of Nazi-occupied Poland as the setting for a murder-mystery noir. When a beautiful Jewish woman named Aneta (Maria Debska), hidden by prominent attorney and her former teacher as his Polish wife Krystyna, is found in the kitchen with a knife in her back, chief inspector Rafal Król (Andrzej Zielinski) is assigned to discover who her killer is. The inspector is emotionally pulled deeper into the case as we see him split between two worlds, having no choice but to cooperate professionally with the German Gestapo even as he hides his ties to the Polish underground resistance. 

The film takes us to pre-war universities, resistance nightclubs, and luxurious apartments as Król questions odd and eccentric personalities who may have information about the murder. Mysterious relationships and suspicious characters, including an SS officer with ties to Aneta’s husband, are revealed as each layer of secrets is exposed. Every character in the film has hidden motives and questionable backgrounds as flashbacks and dramatic turns move the plot forward and call into question any assumptions you may have about how the story will conclude. 

The mystery is set against the foreboding and uncomfortable backdrop of a very atmospheric Warsaw under Nazi occupation. The film unfolds with shocking twists uncovered in the investigation and the circumstances become more and more precarious as Król races to discover the identity of the killer before they murder again. 

Based on a novel of the same name, Janusz Majewski adapted his own book as a screenplay. 

Król’s investigation throws him and the audience into a world of sex, intrigue and secrets in a deeply unsettling but luxuriously filmed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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