KANAL

Poland, 1956 (MIFF 1958, Programme 3)

Director: Andrzej Wajda

On the first of August 1944 the city of Warsaw rose against the Nazi occupiers. Through long incredible weeks the) continued the struggle until they were defeated and the city was destroyed by the Nazis in a fanatical and hideous reprisal.

Uncompromisingly realistic in its presentation, Kanal is a film of despair and of unrewarded heroism. Grim and powerful, stark and, at times, frighteningly convincing, it builds with swift. harsh strokes an atmosphere of almost unbearable tension. In the first part the scattered remnants of a resistance group are being harried from corner to corner of tire crumbling ruins of the city. In the longer last part they are driven like rats into the sewers of Warsaw to their death at the hands of the invading Germans -: their fate none the less terrible for being inevitable. The detachment perishes in twos and threes. lost in the echoing steamy catacomb of tunnels. Among the group thus driven to a slow death in this world of rotting squalor, two couples share a love which is all the more passionate because it is doomed. Those who find a way out crawl into daylight only to find the Nazi firing squads waiting.

This second film of a newcomer to international fame, the 31-year-old director Wajda, received a special prize Cannes Festival.


See also...

INNOCENT SORCERERS

From his fine trilogy on the subject of war and its aftermath, Andrzej Wajda turns to the gentler subject of young intellectuals in Warsaw. The innocent sorcerers of the film's title are a young docto... More »

AFTERIMAGE

'The last work of Poland's most revered postwar filmmaker, Andrzej Wajda, is a fiercely committed obituary of Wladyslaw Strzeminski, one of his country's most strikingly visionary contemporary artists... More »

LAND OF PROMISE

Andrzej Wajda's The Wedding was shown at the Melbourne Festival two years ago, and this new film continues his earlier exploration of the Polish character during the difficult times of the country's p... More »

KATYN

A monument to one of the darkest secrets of the Soviet era. ... For filmmaker Andrzej Wajda, painful events from his own past have been resurrected in Katyn. The film dramatises one of the last major ... More »

THE WEDDING

Andrzej Wajda, who earlier made Ashes and Diamonds, has turned for his latest film to a Polish play by Stanislaw Wyspianski. The Wedding reconstructs a marriage which in fact took place in 1900 at the... More »

ROUGH TREATMENT

For close to three decades it seems that no film festival has been complete without a new film by Andrzej Wajda, Poland's greatest director and a film-maker with a seemingly inexhaustible capacity to ... More »

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