A winter day at a Polish castle, half owned by a fatalistic notary and half by a volcanic old soldier's niece. The old soldier, Cupbearer, and the notary are sworn enemies, which may doom ... See full summary »
A winter day at a Polish castle, half owned by a fatalistic notary and half by a volcanic old soldier's niece. The old soldier, Cupbearer, and the notary are sworn enemies, which may doom the love between the niece, Klara, and the notary's son, Waclaw. On this day, the tongue-tied Cupbearer asks a braggart courtier, Papkin, to sue on his behalf for the hand of the widow Hanna. Papkin succeeds and the wedding is set for the next day. In response, the notary plots to marry Waclaw to the widow to upend Cupbearer's plans. When Cupbearer learns of this perfidy, he responds with his own plot. Will there be poison, a duel, kidnapping, and imprisonment; or, will fate bring another solution? Written by
Wajda has done a superb job in bringing Fredra's 19th century allegorical play (a high school must-read in Poland) to the Silver Screen. Polanski's portrayal of Papkin is excellent, he is exactly the way Polish impoverished petty gentry of his time were. The other characters are likewise beautifully portrayed caricatures. Olbrychski in a smaller role is unrecognizable, so good is his immersion in the role of the loyal old servant.
The choice of texture and color and location was handled very well. Those unfamiliar with Polish history should view the movie as an allegory of internal division. It's a perfect movie for our current American climate where the right and the left are at odds with each other.
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