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The Third Part of the Night (1971)

Trzecia czesc nocy (original title)
Set during the occupation of Poland during World War II. Some German soldiers, slaughter a woman, her son and daughter-in-law. The husband and his father escape by being in the forest. The ... See full summary »


Andrzej Zulawski

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Credited cast:
Malgorzata Braunek ... Marta
Leszek Teleszynski ... Michal
Jan Nowicki ... Jan
Jerzy Golinski Jerzy Golinski ... Michal's father
Anna Milewska ... Sister Klara
Michal Grudzinski Michal Grudzinski ... Marian
Marek Walczewski ... Rozenkranc
Hanna Stankówna
Alicja Jachiewicz ... The Waitress
Leszek Dlugosz Leszek Dlugosz
Halina Czengery Halina Czengery ... Michal's Mother
Janina Ordezanka Janina Ordezanka
Jadwiga Halina Gallowa Jadwiga Halina Gallowa
Grazyna Barszczewska
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ewa Ciepiela Ewa Ciepiela


Set during the occupation of Poland during World War II. Some German soldiers, slaughter a woman, her son and daughter-in-law. The husband and his father escape by being in the forest. The young man decides to join the resistance but at the first meeting Gestapo kills his go-between and chase him. During his escape he gets into an apartment of a pregnant woman and helps her with the childbirth. He works in the typhus center where he is guinea pig for lice after being immunized to make more vaccine. He goes to the hospital to end a misery of a man mistaken by him and tortured where he seems to see his own body and is finally reconciled with himself. Written by Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror | War







Release Date:

4 January 1972 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

A Terça Parte da Noite See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Polski State Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Leszek Teleszynski. See more »


Referenced in Synergia (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

"Putting your hands in the vortex"
24 November 2015 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

I don't like to treat movies as simply fictions to pass the night, that way lies the habit of simply partaking of culture. The whole point is that we're roped in life by forces that have significance for us - and if film is to be a truthful reflection, it will devise ways to portray this pull, turn it into something we can see.

This is how I welcome Zulawski. It's not because of what he has to say or because themes might be important, here Polish life under Nazi horrors. Similarly I don't reject him because stories are muddled or the acting is hysteric. I welcome him because he can use the eye of the camera to rope forces that move us.

On the surface this is a glimpse of anguished life during WWII, but not the mock historical type that seeks to enshrine bygone events in pious ceremony. This is one that speaks very much about anxiety that haunts the soul now in this very life, rending the air with dread and confusion. Horror that is very much present and didn't go away with the war but still lingers. He would rail - more or less covertly - against a repressive Soviet regime in later films as well.

So he's angry with god that won't manifest, he shouts dejection at a broken state of things, everything he would become known for is already present here, fully formed as template. But no answer can be found in the mind that despairs and clamors and none would suffice to explain anything. No his power is that he can show these things truthfully for what they are, confusion as confusion, ignorance as ignorance. So of course the narrative becomes oblique, muddled, sense takes flight and we're left with fragments.

He's still striving to burst forth here, not yet channeling madness through the eye to alter how we see. That would come to him in due time. But everything you need to know about him you'll see in the very beginning of this first film.

A man's wife and child are taken from their house one day and murdered in the yard; evil that swoops over this world and wrecks lives. He joins the resistance and immediately people are chasing after him and shooting to kill him, agents of that evil.

So he hides in an apartment building and by a chance turn of fate, police arrest someone else in his place, someone with the same color of coat who was going up the stairs to a pregnant wife. In a stunning turn he helps the wife give birth, becoming the husband who was taken away.

Jancso and Tarkovsky were previous masters of the floating eye who could maintain equanimity in the face of horror and misfortune; he is ruptured by it, splintered in selves. But it's still the same deep roar from the engines of consciousness that propels him.

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