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 »
Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very ... 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 »
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 »
In occupied France, German-run Continental Films calls the shots in the movie business. Assistant director and Resistance activist Jean Devaivre works for Continental, where he can get "in ... See full summary »
Alex is an 11-year old boy who, during WWII, hides in the Jewish ghetto from Nazis after all the relatives have been sent to the concentration camp. The movie portrays the ghetto through ... See full summary »
Martha Weiss, a Jew, is sent to Auschwitz concentration camp with her family. On the first day of their arrival Martha is, by a coincidence, chosen as an interpreter, but her entire family ... 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 »
Germany in Autumn does not have a plot per se; it mixes documentary footage, along with standard movie scenes, to give the audience the mood of Germany during the late 1970s. The movie ... 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?