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...


'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 »


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 »


The boy in dark glasses who was hero of Andrzej WajtIa`s film. Ashes and Difttrtottrls, was played by Zbigniew Cybulski. The actor and the part he created became a legend, not unlike that of James Dea... More »


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 »


“A small gemstone that glistens in the memory long after the lights come up.” - Hollywood Reporter ... The story of a middle-aged woman finding sexual reawakening with a young man after losing her son... More »


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 »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director