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Kanal (1957)

 -  Drama | War  -  20 April 1957 (Poland)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,105 users  
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A symbolic depiction of hell on Earth, set in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Lieutenant Zadra is commanding a company of 43 men in a desperate battle amidst the ruins. Facing... See full summary »

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Title: Kanal (1957)

Kanal (1957) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Teresa Izewska ...
Stokrotka
Tadeusz Janczar ...
Ens. Jacek 'Korab'
Wienczyslaw Glinski ...
Lt. 'Zadra'
Tadeusz Gwiazdowski ...
Sgt. 'Kula'
Stanislaw Mikulski ...
Smukly
Emil Karewicz ...
Lt. 'Madry'
Vladek Sheybal ...
Michal 'Ogromny', the composer (as Wladyslaw Sheybal)
Teresa Berezowska ...
Halinka
Zofia Lindorf ...
Old woman looking for her daughter
Janina Jablonowska ...
Woman
Maria Kretz ...
Wounded Woman
Jan Englert ...
Zefir
Kazimierz Dejunowicz ...
Capt. 'Zabawa'
Zdzislaw Lesniak ...
Maly
Maciej Maciejewski ...
Lt. 'Gustaw'
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Storyline

A symbolic depiction of hell on Earth, set in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Lieutenant Zadra is commanding a company of 43 men in a desperate battle amidst the ruins. Facing German offense and cut off from their comrades, Zadra is commanded to retreat his men through the sewer system ('kanal'). Zadra and his men are reluctant to do so, as it would indicate that they have lost the battle, but decide to obey the orders. However, as the men (and women) retreat, it becomes clear that their desperate attempt to flee from the hell of battle will result only in more death and suffering... Written by Heka A.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

20 April 1957 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Kanal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A lot of the film's crew members took part in the 1944 Warsaw uprising (e.g. cinematographer Jerzy Lipman or actor Tadeusz Janczar). Screenwriter Jerzy Stefan Stawinski used the sewers during the uprising in order to get from the southern district of Mokotów to the city center. As he said in an interview, each character in the film has at least one equivalent of a real-life insurgent he was acquainted with. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: These are the tragic heroes: watch them closely in the remaining hours of their lives.
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Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Polish Cinema (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Soicism in the face of fate
18 March 2007 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

Watching Andrzei Wajda's war movie 'Kanal' one is stuck just by how short the interval was between the making of this film and the horrors it depicts. And while there were plenty of British and American war films made in the 1950s, it was perhaps easier to turn "our" story into the black-and-white banality of heroic fable, besides which, "we" could also make movies without communist censors looking over our shoulders. Wajda here chooses to fashion a tale centred on the collapse of the Polish resistance to the Nazis: the last survivors take to the sewers, the Germans pump gas down, and you know as soon as the film starts that there will be no happy endings, even for the survivors. It's a tale whose laconic nihilism would be remarkable in any era: I was reminded of the (much later) BBC nuclear-themed drama 'Threads', another tale of underground life facing extinction, while the dialogue, stoical in the face of impossible fate, offers more direct echos, for it made me think of the films of another Polish master, Krystoff Kieslowski. The most remarkable things in this film are the poetically bleak sequence of scenes that end it; it's biggest failing is the score, that (as with many films of this era) feels the need to describe the plot, and not merely to complement it. Occasionally other aspects of the movie also give away its age, but what's much more notable is the modernity (and hopelessness) of its approach to its material. A fine achievement, dating from an era when the events it portrayed were the present, not the past.


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