Last Resort

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Screenwriters: Pawel Pawlikowski

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


A thoughtful, tender, and profoundly evocative journey, Last Resort combines the powers of observance and understatement to render an unforgettable tale of a mother and son navigating the complex waters of British immigration. Infused with delicate naturalism and potent humanism, Last Resort opens with what is at first glance a social drama that morphs ever so gently into the most lyrical of love stories.

A naïve young Russian woman, Tanya (Dina Korzun of The Land of the Deaf), and her streetwise son (newcomer Artion Strelnikov) are detained at a London airport when her elusive English fiancé fails to collect them. In a panicked effort to avoid deportation, Tanya asks for political asylum and she and her son are immediately transported to the dreary seaside resort of Stonehaven where thousands of other immigrants remain cloistered pending their review. In a state of virtual imprisonment, Tanya befriends the manager of an amusement arcade (Paddy Considine of A Room for Romeo Brass) whose affection and generosity buoys her spirits and helps ease her despondency.

The second feature from UK-based, award-winning documentary director Pawel Pawlikowski, Last Resort is that rare gem of a movie that touches the viewer with its humanity and the magnificence of its craft. Against the dilapidated urban seascape, a warm fire emanates from Pawlikowski's astonishing cast, rising up in sharp contrast to the wintry poetry of the film's graceful blue-hued and bleak imagery (captured in Ryszard Lenczewski's marvelous oscillation of free-form and static shots). A finely etched and sublimely eloquent character study, Last Resort is destined to remain in our hearts long after the screen fades to black.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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