"Once honesty ruled in Lodz, not millionaires," reminisces Maks' aged father, the owner of an ailing loom workshop that still utilises men over machines. Karol's trajectory echoes this sentiment exactly. As his callousness increases throughout the narrative, he descends so far as to have his own Nero moment with all integrity lost. Karol doesn't fiddle as Rome burns; rather, he gorges on rich food and another man's wife with little regard for anyone else. A periphery brimming with intrigue - a Jewish conspiracy against the factory, opportunities for each man to betray his associates, suggestions of a prosperous marriage - all combines to make riveting viewing. As Wajda's camera skims along the greyish-brown of Lodz's streets, and glides through vulgar and empty mansions, the plight of the workers and moral corruption of the directors is writ large across this chapter of Polish history. He excellently accentuates the unrefined and rash money men ruling the roost and yet manages to keeps the trio's tale gripping down to its inevitable, but no less chilling, conclusion.
The 13th Kinoteka runs from 8 April - 29 May. The full 2015 programme, ticketing details and more can be viewed at kinoteka.org.uk. You can follow our coverage here.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson