Gospel according to Harry


Majewski’s maverick allegory takes place when the Pacific has dried up and California has become a desert. A couple try to make the best of it but life is hard on them; even sex hurts. The only person who enjoys himself is Harry, the tax collector.

Combining the theatrical surrealism of Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, the pop-art playfulness of Richard Lester, scathing social critique, genuine pathos and the complex imagery for which writer-director Lech Majewski is renowned, Gospel According to Harry is a cinematic tour de force.

Years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy catapulted him to international superstardom, Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, Green Book) plays Wes, a young husband locked in co-dependent discontent with his beautiful and needy wife Karen (Jennifer Rubin – The Doors). Their future prospects as barren as the sun-bleached dunes that are the surreal setting for their one room existence, Wes and Karen go through the dehumanizing motions of a modern life in which happiness is as ephemeral and elusive as the grains of sand beneath their feet.

“This highly visual, beautifully shot film functions as a metaphor of modern discontent… – writes Piers Handling of Toronto International Film Festiwal. – Majewski exposes a malaise that invests today’s world boldly juxtaposing domestic strife against a vast allegorical canvas that embraces the political and the religious… Gospel according to Harry is a striking film, where the director’s maverick vision creates a metaphor for our times against a barren landscape.”

with Viggo Mortensen, Jennifer Rubin, Jack Kehoe, Herbert Moulton, Hanna Dunowska and Rita Tushingham.

Written and directed by Lech Majewski producers Lech Majewski, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Henryk Romanowski director of photography Grzegorz Kędzierski music Jan A. P. Kaczmarek casting Johanna Ray production designers Anna Karolak, Andrzej Przedworski costumes Elżbieta Radke editor Elżbieta Kurkowska.

Audience Award, Toronto, 1994