Knife in the Water (film)

Knife in the Water (Nóż w wodzie) is a 1962 film directed by Roman Polański. It features only three characters and deals with rivalry and sexual tension.


The film begins as Andrzej and Krystyna are driving to a lake to go sailing when they come upon a young man hitchhiking in the middle of the road. After nearly hitting him, Andrzej sarcastically invites the young man to pick his seat and to take a nap while they continue driving. When they arrive at the docks, instead of leaving the young man behind, Andrzej invites him to sail with them for the day. The young man accepts the offer, and, not knowing much about sailing, is forced to learn many hard lessons from Andrzej. Meanwhile, tension gradually builds between Andrzej and the unnamed hitchhiker as they vie for the attentions of the young wife. The title refers to the major turning point in the film when Andrzej taunts the young man with the latter's treasured pocket knife and accidentally drops it overboard.


Knife in the Water was shot by Polanski in 1962 with three actors. It was Polanski's first feature film and two of the actors (Jolanta Umecka, who plays Krystyna and Zygmunt Malanowicz, who plays the young man) had virtually no previous professional experience.

Krzysztof Komeda's music is used in the film.


Knife in the Water was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1963 Academy Awards. It brought Polanski fame and respect in the film community and got him on the cover of Time (previous to Knife in the Water, he had only made short films). It is sometimes referred to as one of the best debut feature films in history (alongside Citizen Kane by Orson Welles).

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