"Potop" ("The Deluge") is the film that every Pole knows almost by heart. It is shown on TV every year, either at Christmas time or at Easter - and yet we watch it over and over again and we are never bored with it. There are many reasons for it, like superb acting by some of the greatest Polish actors, especially by Olbrychski as Kmicic (although I personally don't like him very much in his other roles, he just WAS Kmicic - passionate, quick-tempered, desperately in love with Olenka and not too politically wise) and the gripping story covering a tragic period in the history of my nation (that is the Swedish "deluge" as we call it - the 17th century war between Poland and Sweden, when Swedish armies invaded our land and some noble families betrayed the Polish king and accepted Gustavus Karolus).
One of the strongest elements of the film is the care with which the director and the whole crew depicted the 17th century Poland, with the costumes, traditions and food. As an anecdote I can tell you, that at the time the average family saw ham only at Christmas, and never in such amounts as you can see in the film - and yet what you see on the table in the picture is real hams, game and poultry...
The devotion and passion of all the crew members show in the film - and that is why it involves us, the viewers even after so many years. But the most important thing is that whether you know Polish history or not, you will find in the movie some general truths about war, about how it influences peoples' lives, and how the sacrifice of one man can change the course of history. It will also tell you something about the Poles - yes, we are rebellious, we are quarrelsome, and yet we are ready to die for things that are sacred to us - like the abbey in Czestochowa, the "home" of the national treasure: the painting of Madonna, the Queen of Poland.
So watch it and enjoy - it's on my personal list of top 10 films of all times, all nations.
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