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Rome Reports

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“Ether,” a Krzysztof Zanussi film that faces dilemma of boundaries of science


The fine line separating medical science from playing God has always been cause for reflection. It has also made it to the big screen. This is the dilemma brought to light in the film, “Ether.”

The film is the most recent production of Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi. The plot is set toward the end of the 19th century. It is an adaptation of the myth in which Faust sells his soul to the devil in exchange for worldly pleasures. On this occasion, the protagonist, a doctor, sells his soul in exchange for the power to play with life and death by experimenting with ether.

“Have you seen what science can do? We are one step away from resurrection.”

“Ether” is a thought-provoking film which allows for various interpretations, thanks to the intellectual formation of its director, who is also a physicist, theologian and philosopher.

KRZYSZTOF ZANUSSI
Film Director
“I want to share my thoughts and feelings with the audience. The audience interprets them. I'm often surprised by the result because I don't realize I've done what I have in my work.”

The film touches on another important question: whether or not the ends justify the means. It's a topic just as controversial now as in the 19th century, when the movie is set.

The premiere of “Ether” in Spain was a huge success. Krzysztof Zanussi himself attended the event in Madrid. Despite his 80 years of age, the successful and internationally reknowned filmmaker doesn't let up in his commitment to bring truly transcendent themes to the world of cinema.

Ángeles Conde
Translation: Claudia Torres