In the view of critic Jim Emerson, Jerzy Skolimowski‘s Four Nights With Anna — theatrically unreleased and unavailable as a subtitled DVD, but playing this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image — is “a small-scale masterpiece about voyeurism” and also “a movie about movie-watching and movie-making.
“Leon (Artur Steranko), the conscience and consciousness of the film, is as smitten with the object of his desire (Kinga Preis) as can be, even though his drugged and slumbering beloved isn’t conscious of their trysts,” Emerson writes. “Unlike James Stewart in Rear Window” (but very much like Buster Keaton in Sherlock, Jr.) he daringly crosses the void that separates them and enters her world through that permeable rectangle…four times.”
And what if Artur was a 59 year-old gay man and the object of his desire was a 12 year-old boy, whom he has drugged into submission? What then? Would Emerson and his cineaste homies still be drooling over this companion piece to Rear Window and Peeping Tom? I’m asking.