In the early 1810s, Poles, part of Russia's client state of Lithuania, think independence will come if they join forces with Napoleon when he invades Russia. This unity of purpose, in one ... See full summary »
In 1668 Polish colonel Michael Wolodyjowski, who recently retired to a monastery, is recalled to active duty and takes charge of Poland's eastern frontier defenses against invading Tatar hordes and Ottoman armies.
In the 15th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is facing a hard struggle against the neighboring Teutonic Order.Frequent clashes between the two powers finally culminate in 1410 with the Battle of Grunwald.
During the 1655 war between Protestant Sweden and Catholic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth some Polish-Lithuanian nobles side with Swedish king Charles X Gustav while others side with the Polish king Jan Kazimierz.
A violinist in a provincial Polish orchestra, whose husband is the director of the ensemble, on a visit to the US ties up with the world- renowned symphony conductor. As it turns out he was... 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 »
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 »
Jurek Kiler (see the prequel to this movie, "Kiler") has become a VIP - sponsoring the Polish government, playing tennis with the President, and stuff. He must oversee a transfer of a ... See full summary »
In the early 1810s, Poles, part of Russia's client state of Lithuania, think independence will come if they join forces with Napoleon when he invades Russia. This unity of purpose, in one district, is undermined by two families, feuding since the head of one shot the head of the other twenty years before. There are hopes of a reconciliation through a marriage of Pan Tadeusz, a Soplica, whose father, the murderer, is in hiding somewhere, and Zosia, a teen-aged girl, a Horeszko who lives in the household of Pan's uncle. Other cross-currents - of love, family, politics, village traditions, land reform, and what it means to be Polish - give the film texture. It's an exile's story. Written by
A polonaise composed by Kilar for this soundtrack gained a nation-wide recognition and became the opening tune for most high school proms. Before the movie the first dance was traditionally accompanied by Chopin. See more »
Andrzej Wajda has been a great director at least as far back as "Kanal" in 1957. Tough films, provocative themes.
But why the costume drama? I really wish he'd left this one alone.
It's not unlike 1999's other bloated Polish historical epic, "Ogniem i mieczem" ("With Fire and Sword"). Here again Poles put aside their differences to prove they're the greatest people, or at least the greatest Slavs, on Bóg's green earth. Rah, rah. A crowd of Polish lesser gentry (rabble) armed with swords can defeat trained Russian musketry any day.
And, yes, I am of Polish descent myself, although I'm embarrassed to admit it in this jingoistic context. That's why I was at the special screening in the first place, sponsored by Toronto's Polish newspaper.
"Pan Tadeusz" shares another characteristic with its elephantine contemporary: its ability to confuse non-Polish-speaking members of the audience with its vast number of characters and their poorly defined interrelationships.
Both films too have a sudsy quality. So did "Gone With The Wind", but then character definition makes that historical epic a success. Tadeusz and Zosia are indistinct phantoms as personalities. Certainly no Rhett or Scarlett.
"With Fire and Sword" is more melodramatic than "Pan Tadeusz", but it's also more exciting. This film has a laudable grandeur which Wajda brings to the proceedings, but still I wish he'd picked a subject with a bit more substance.
Wojciech Kilar can be congratulated on his score. And Daniel Olbrychski is always good to see, even with scars all over his head.
It should be noted that Polish-speaking spectators at the theatre appeared to find this film quite enjoyable. They would be chuckling at clever turns of phrase in the dialogue, while the English titles would be saying something indescribably prosaic. Evidently the film loses nearly everything in translation.
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