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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
Pretty illustration to the book, but can't really function as an independent picture.
I don't blame any non-Polish viewers for being confused or simply bored. Not at all. At the moment I'm even trying to imagine how it feels watching this picture without being able to refer anytime to the knowledge of the book and the cultural background. I guess it makes you feel lost and empty-headed.
First of all, the screen play was created in a very unusual way. The dialogs were not written, but extracted from the poem, some of them being full rhyming lines and some only parts. Of course most of the meaningful and informative pieces were in the narrative section of the poem and somehow didn't make it to the screen. I'm all for "show not tell", but "don't show, don't tell, everybody knows it all from school" is not the top shelf of movie-making to me.
All that is shown is pretty people, pretty costumes, pretty interiors, pretty nature. Definitely pleasant to see for anyone who likes pictures with historical settings and would like to get to know something about the life in a particular time and place.
The movie really works only for people who have read the poem and have been taught about its historical background. After such preparation they can enjoy this multimedia reconstruction of the characters and places from the book, because that's rather what it is to me. Indeed, all the actors are good, music memorable and all the details nicely done, but this production really lacks the cinematic backbone and something that would allow it to be a movie on its own.
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