Film opens with the mad rush of haphazard freedom as the concentration camps are liberated. Men are trying to grab food, change clothes, bury their tormentors they find alive. Then they are... See full summary »
Film opens with the mad rush of haphazard freedom as the concentration camps are liberated. Men are trying to grab food, change clothes, bury their tormentors they find alive. Then they are herded into other camps as the Allies try to devise policy to control the situation. A young poet who cannot quite find himself in this new situation, meets a headstrong Jewish young girl who wants him to run off with her, to the West. He cannot cope with her growing demands for affection, while still harboring the hatred for the Germans and disdain for his fellow men who quickly revert to petty enmities. Written by
Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>
"Landscape after a battle" opens with escaping prisoners over a snowy field full of fences - in rather funny movements accompanied by Vivaldis Four Seasons. A touching opening. But we soon enough learn to know these prisoners as a mob, and when they (also treated humouristic) burry a man alive, the protagonist stops for a moment, but is soon more engaged in finding books from the turndowned camp than caring about his neighbour.
The rest of the film is set in an American camp from where the prisoners are not released, in some kind of semi freedom, semi camp. A perfect set for a study of war criminality, American camps, Polish nationalism, Catholisism, grief and human misery in general.
Film makes an important turn. In comes women, and with them film changes light, colour and temper. At the same time it turns out that these prisoners were slaves in Holocaust. I think a main underlying political theme of the film must mankind's treatments of Jews under and after the world war, and not only the Nazi exterminations, but mankind letting it happen - and even forcing them out of Europe after the war. On an emotional level the film is about grief and the problem with letting grief come, how environment makes grief difficult, and how difficult it can be to share grief for people with different experiences.
But the film is a carpet of underlying contradictions,humour, irony and sudden beauty. A couple of times during the film a gypsy prisoner plays on an harp, an emotional tune brutally rejected (filmatically speaking) by the protagonist. That example picks up an important essence of the film's style and theme. When it comes to humour its very comic how the protagonist constantly looses and finds back his glasses, in crowds, in hay stacks etc.
Its not hard to understand Spielberg's respect of Wajda when you see this film. The great treatment of light can be compared with Spielberg on his best. The Grunwald intermezzo speaks for itself. Narrativly it only brings the film out of the camp, but filmatically it brings the film to dream and eternity with profound beauty. Anyhow, there is also another scene I can't let go without comment. Its the Christian Supper. Undoubtly ironical, but simultaneously deeply religious we see the transsubstantiation moment, everybody falling on their knees, while the protagonist is saved from isolation by the priest to serve as a comic altar boy. His bells are mocking the scene, but also gives it emotion and love. When Nina gets her bread, sun light falls upon her and bells ring spheric, its the peak moment of the film.
Main actors are excellent in their roles. Olbrychski as the perfect Wajda protagonist - the doubting reflecting mind, unable to put all the aspects of his mind and emotion into life. Beautiful Celinska is with great body acting debuting in a character unable to express all her inner in her proud movements.
Those who try to describe everything, often are unable to take nothing in consideration. This is what Wajda manages. His films are either very moving, deep or beautifully shot, but pays attention to life's and society's particularity. A moment of joy for one, is the moment of irony for a second, the moment of grief for the third, a moment of nothing for the fourth.
There is at least two reasons to pay attention to Wajdas films of this period. First is the remarkable free expression of deep political impact. This country was the first to overthrow communism twenty years later. Second is the development of a filmatic and narrative language that Kusturica has rose to grandeur.
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