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A harrowing tale of survival centers on Rose, a Masurian woman, whose husband, a German soldier, was killed in the war, leaving her alone on their farm. A single woman had no defense against Russian soldiers who raped as a form of revenge, nor against plundering Poles who found themselves in desperate straits. The law of the jungle had replaced the rule of law. Help arrives for Rose in the form of Tadeusz, a former officer in the Polish Home Army who survived the Warsaw uprising and is attempting to hide his identity. Written by
A harrowing and brutal film - an undisputed lesson in misery
I think its unfortunate that not many people are aware of this awful saga of history, which took place in Germany and eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. Millions of women were raped and many more people were tortured, beaten and brutally murdered at the hands of the Red Army and the notorious Soviet NKVD. The Red Army took their revenge in particular on German women, but that didn't stop them rampaging through Poland and other parts of Europe raping anything that moved. The historian Anthony Beevor chronicled these events in his book "Berlin", and there have been a few films touching on the subject, such as 2006's British production "Joy Division" and the poorly made "A Woman in Berlin" that was adapted from the diary of a writer at the time. "Rose" is the first film I've seen that portrays the horrors of this time period in all it's nasty glory - it certainly was survival of the fittest; this is one brutal and harrowing film to sit through, and it really begs the question of the viewer, just how much misery can you watch? But if you think that watching it is bad, just imagine having to live through it.
The film opens up on a brutal note instantly - an officer of the Polish Home Army (the dominant Polish resistance movement in German occupied Poland) wakes up on a battlefield, shell-shocked, and he watches as a few German soldiers rape a Polish woman before shooting her in the head. The war has ended and he travels to East Prussia to hand over some possessions of a Polish man who was in the German Army whose death he had witnessed on the battlefield to his wife. She welcomes him to stay, in order to protect her from the lawless atmosphere of the region on the eve of Soviet take over. This woman has been brutally raped many times; by Red Army soldiers and by her own people, driven mad by war. Director Wojciech Smarzowski has made a towering achievement here; he is a master of portraying human misery in how he gets close-ups of the characters faces, and he seems to know just where to look in order to the get the best out of the body language of the characters. The acting is authentic and superb, and overall, it is a brilliant film, albeit, some parts of it historically are a bit blurry (I mean, the idea of this man who was in the Warsaw Uprising fighting for his country and returning the possessions of a German soldier to his wife is quite vague) I do recommend this film, without a warning, because I believe it's an important part of history to witness; a devastating conclusion to the most destructive war in human history.
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