921. Paths of Hate – Damian Nenow

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SUMMARY: Two fighter pilots are locked in a vicious dogfight.

WHY IT’S HERE: Damian Nenow’s ‘Paths of Hate’ is a visceral glimpse of two pilots locked in a dogfight. With its intricately rendered comic-book style, blood-soaked intensity and rock soundtrack, cynics may say that this is a film that attempts to depict the hellishness of war while also marvelling at how awesome it is! There are elements of this having-and-eating approach but Nenow’s film aims for something more. Although we are watching an action-packed fight scene, the director seems more interested in just what is going on inside the heads of his characters. So why does Nenow choose not to give us a glimpse inside their mind’s eyes? Because there is really nothing of note to show. And that seems to be the point here. The two men involved in this fight are consumed by a hatred so ill-defined and empty that there is nothing but pointless aggression driving them on in their actions. The brilliant final image, though not especially subtle in its blood red palette, underlines this point as survival goes out of the window and terrifyingly relentless bloodlust takes over. More exciting and competently shot than anything in ‘Top Gun’, ‘Paths of Hate’ is an impressive piece from the Polish director.

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