Set in the Polish Galicia in 1914, on the eve of World War I. Three nationalities are living in the area: Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish. The country inn (Austeria in Galician) is run by an ... See full summary »
A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something. He has to share sleeping-compartment with a woman who also seems to be on the run. ... See full summary »
The year is 1965. Rachel Brener is one of 3 young Mossad agents teem who caught "The Surgeon of Birkenau" - a Nazi monster who was never brought to trial in Israel. The official reason was ... See full summary »
In good old days Franz Maurer and his partners from secret police used to live like kings. Now, they all must adapt to new post-communist environment where they are scorned and losing all ... See full summary »
The Debt is a gripping thriller about two entrepreneurs who become tangled in the web of a Russian thug. Two friends begin a business venture of importing Italian scooters into Poland. With... See full summary »
The last film of Andrzej Munk, who died in a crash during the filming. A German woman on a ship coming back to Europe notices a face of another woman which brings recollections from the ... See full summary »
It is a bitter story about a middle-aged man, who hates his life and other people, including himself. Adam Miauczynski, the character known from director Marek Koterski's previous films, is... See full summary »
Little-known, Thought-provoking Wajda Film about Moral Choices
During the Nazi era, a Jewish woman on the run takes a trolley which passes near the Warsaw ghetto, where the uprising battle is taking place, and some passengers are struck by stray bullets. They take temporary refuge in an empty building, and there she has a chance meeting with her ex-fiancé. He offers to put her up--that is, hide her--for a few days. He's now married, a professional who lives in an idyllic suburb reached by a trolley that runs through the woods. His wife seems more committed to putting up the fugitive than he is. The story involves the neighbors, the building owner who avoids involvement and seeks solace in classic poetry, and the super and his suspicious wife.
This is certainly one of Wajda's major films, but it apparently did not get a favorable reception from any faction (Jews, Poles, etc.) and one can see why. It isn't an easy film: it tackles a difficult subject and doesn't provide any facile answers or try to provoke a simple emotional response. And the characters are not especially likable.
The central character is a man who knows what's right and even DOES what's right at the cost of his life, but still isn't very sympathetic. He has no zest for taking a principled stand, and he has a certain lack of empathy. A key scene is where his younger brother, romantically attracted to the underground, goes off to his possible death fighting in the ghetto. The husband doesn't understand why his wife is crying, and only sees his pesky younger brother's unexplained (to him) departure as a relief. In short, he's like a lot of us. In films where characters are faced with strong moral choices, right and wrong are usually clearly defined. Wajda understands that it's not as simple as that. I saw this film 9 years ago, but this character often returns to my mind.
Wajda is not badly represented in the DVD/tape market, but the emphasis is on his earlier films. This is one of the later ones that's sadly not available. It deserves a wider audience.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?