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 ...
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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
Rose falls in line with the long tradition of somber Polish martyr tales from the Second World War. Though more modern takes on the war have some new wrinkles, such as the once uncomfortable admission of Polish collaborators with the Soviets and Nazis, the basic stories of the protagonists and how they fit into Poland's narrative remains the same. The focus of the story is often still a person, an altruist and martyr, struggling to survive in a world where altruism has no answers.
Rose is the tale of a widowed woman, her daughter, and a former AK officer hiding his identity, trying to survive the chaotic post-war environment of rural Poland. Their surroundings are constantly hostile, Russian soldiers, a burgeoning Communist Party and opportunists all do their best to take advantage of the chaos. Violence, rape, looting the corpses left behind by the war, or the ever present minefields, there is nothing romantic, or joyous. The only option is survival, and the protagonist's hope for a piece of their prewar dignity.
The film, in it's affectation, does well to reflect this. It's color is purposely muted, as if still covered in a layer of ash. The sun is never allowed to shine through the clouds, and the coming of a hard winter looms over everything. All this however, makes watch the film itself difficult. The story hardly lets up, and it's darkness and violence wears on you. It makes for an experience that is difficult to watch, and you can become desensitized to it's violence. It becomes easier and easier to disengage.
You can't deny the film's attempt of a honest portrayal of that tragic era of Polish history. However, the film almost chases these tragedies with reckless abandon. The film opens with the protagonist begin forced to watch the rape of wife by German soldiers, in the wreckage of their destroyed and burning home. A valid metaphor, but not a particularly sophisticated one. Though, as an experience the problems of its dramatic construction keep the film from being brilliant, it is well filmed and acted. Worth seeing, in the interest of history, but difficult to watch and definitely not for everyone.
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