In 1976, a young woman in Krakow is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly a proletariat hero, at how that heroism was... See full summary »
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 »
Action opens in November of 1793, with Danton returning to Paris from his country retreat upon learning that the Committee for Public Safety, under Robespierre's incitement, has begun a ... See full summary »
In May of 1983, a man turns 49 and, with his 17-year old son, journeys to the village in Baden that he left 40 years before. He wants to discover what happened then, the truth about an ... See full summary »
A young doctor is tired of being sought by women. One night he meets a young girl who all but forces herself into his room where they talk of morals and love. But he loses her when he goes ... See full summary »
Account of the last days of life of the legendary Polish pedagogue Janusz Korczak and his heroic dedication to protecting Jewish orphans during the war. Jewish doctor Henryk Goldszmit, ... See full summary »
Two sketches covering episodes from the World War II. In the first novel, "Scherzo alla polacca", a shrewd son, trying to preserve his skin, ultimately becomes a hero and finds a reason for... See full summary »
A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. ... See full summary »
A devout Catholic peasant girl is corrupted by two new friends when her family moves to the city. An allegory of traditional Polish values under threat from materialism and decadence in the post-Communist era.
During the screening of the film "Daybreak" at the Liberty Cinema, movie characters suddenly come alive and begin to talk to the viewers. The situation surprises communist authorities who send a censor to the theatre.
In 1976, a young woman in Krakow is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly a proletariat hero, at how that heroism was created, and what became of him. She gets hold of outtakes and censored footage and interviews the man's friends, ex-wife, and the filmmaker who made him a hero. A portrait of Birkut emerges: he believed in the workers' revolution, in building housing for all, and his very virtues were his undoing. Her hard-driving style and the content of the film unnerve her supervisor, who kills the project with the excuse she's over budget. Is there any way she can push the film to completion? Written by
So many film students have wasted their time trying to study "Kane" as a character study and as a satire. But it wasn't really either of those things, but an experiment in depth for the camera and narrative structures. The frequent comparison between that film and this one makes a lot of sense superficially; the newsreel footage, the interviewees made up to look 20 years older.
But Agniezcka is making a film, rather than a piece for a newspaper: journalism vs. art, capitalism vs. socialism. Although the journalists in "Kane" said otherwise, they were never seeing "who he was" rather "what he was like" ie. his behaviour, how others perceived him etc. Here we have something broader, examining a man confronting society, confronting his friends, and confronting himself all at the same time. Newspaper journalism tells us what something is like. Good documentary strives to really define what or who something was.
This is a highly intelligent structure, moreso than his previous works and moreso even than "Kane." As a meditation on film-making, it moves gracefully from the shots captured by Agniezcka's cinematographer, and the shots of Wajda himself, forcing us to draw parallels.
It's a shame Wajda remains largely unknown. Perhaps the up-coming Criterion set of his "War Trilogy" will change that.
4 out of 5 - An excellent film
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