In 1648 a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine threatens the sovereignty of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth over the Cossack nation. The Cossack rebellion also known as the Khmelnytsky Uprising is pitting the Cossack nation and its Crimean Tatar allies against the forces sent by the Polish king John II Casimir. Polish Colonel Michal Wolodyjowski is leading a squadron of Polish cavalry.Traitors,assassins and spies are everywhere. Against the backdrop of the uprising, a Polish knight Skrzetuski and a Cossack leader Bohun fall in love with the same young beautiful woman, Helena. Their rivalry becomes the symbol of Polish-Ukrainian struggle.Written by
This lavish production was the most expensive Polish film up to that time. See more »
A traditional Polish-Ukrainian song Hej sokoly is sung in the movie. This is an anachronism as the action of the movie takes place in 1648 and the song was composed in the 19th century. See more »
On April 14 2001 the first channel of Polish public television aired the first part of the television version of the movie. The television version is almost 30 minutes longer than the version previously shown in the cinemas and contains of four episodes. It includes some scenes that were deleted from the theatrical edition, e.g. scenes with Krystyna Feldman and Agnieszka Krukówna playing Ukrainian women or Magdalena Warzecha playing Gryzelda Wisniowiecka. See more »
I first saw Ogniem I Mieczem in Poland in 2000, where I was working and learning Polish. That is true that one has to know Polish well enough to perceive this magnificent epic drama, but at the same time this film was broad-casted in Russia, my homeland, dubbed into Russian, and many people watched it and loved it very much. I agree that you have probably to be Polish to understand this film, but this is not a must. All you need is some basic knowledge of the Polish Russian Ukrainian history of the 17th century. Terrible wars were waging all that time between Poland, Russia and Ukraine. Since there are three nations close to one another, that conflict made it all even worse, when true brothers were killing each other. Jerzy Hoffman is a real master of the historical movies; he had already achieved great popularity with Potop and Pan Wolodyjowski, two other films based as Ogniem I Mieczem on the novels of the Nobel Prize Winner Henryk Sienkiewicz. Thus, in OiM he managed to depict very tragic and romantic events on a really grand scale. The battle scenes are simply second to none, and you feel all that pain and suffering of people fighting there. The scene when the Ukrainian army under Bohdan Chmelnicki (played by the famous Ukrainian actor Bohdan Stupka) attacks continually the castle called Zbararz is impeccable. The casting job was also done marvelously. You cannot imagine anybody else but the Russian film star Alexander Domogarov in the part of Jurek Bohun, a riotous Ukrainian colonel. He plays with such unrestrained passion and vigor that, even being certainly a "baddie", he arouses a great sympathy and admiration. Isabella Scorupco is an excellent choice for the main female part (the love story in the movie is very touching and likewise very tragic), while Zbiegniew Zamachowski is great playing a small but brave feigner and loyal soldier. The famous Polish actor Marek Kondrat is there in a very small but highly emotional role of the king Jan Kazimierz, weak and powerless ruler whose heart aches for his Motherland. Also, pay attention to a merciless but brave Count Jeremi Wisniewiecki, who tried all his best to put an end to that horrible war. And it's impossible to forget another Ukrainian actress, Ruslana Pysanka in the role of the witch Horpyna her performance is blood-chilling and at the same time very entertaining. In fact, all, even smaller parts of this crew (Pan Zagloba, Senator Kissiel, Tuhaj-Bej, Tatarczuk, Longin Podbipieta) are in their places and add much to the film. The nature scenes are another plus of this film; you cannot but admire the wide open plains, slow waters, deep forests and snowy mountains all shown with real gusto. Music adds another dimension, this mix of Russian, Polish and Ukrainian folk tunes serves its duty it trills you, holds you all the time and stays in your ears long after the movie ended. I was thrilled after having watched this epic for the 1st time, and this feeling remains in me even after numerous re-runs. What I really love in this film is the main message that Mr. Hoffman made clear a civil war is terrible, no aim and no word may justify this entire bloody massacre. The final scene when we learn that all this heroic struggle of the Poles was in fact in vain is deeply touching and I can understand all those who were weeping while watching. No, you don't have to be a Pole yourself to catch the main idea of the movie. You simply have to be a person with a big heart and sincere feelings to feel pain, suffering, strife and grief of the oppressed. This movie is a splendid work of art of the big master, having lost none of its emotional message with the run of time. Highly recommended
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