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LAND OF PROMISE

Poland, 1975 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Andrzej Wajda

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 partition. Land of Promise is adapted from a novel by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, written at the turn of the century just before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for 'The Peasants'.

The film is set in the German section of Poland, in the town of Lodz, an industrial centre depending upon cotton mills, mostly run by Jews. The town suffers wild speculation that involves three classes: the exploited textile workers, the older land nobility driven to bankruptcy, and the shrewd, corrupt businessmen. Wajda shows the foundations of modern, industrialized Poland in the conflict of the older, incapable rural nobility with the new factory owners, mainly dominated by Jewish and German interests.

The film's central characters are three men struggling for wealth: Karol Borowiecki, a young Pole from a noble family, Moryc, a Jew, and Max, a German. Karol is the lover of the wife of a wealthy Jewish factory owner. He attempts to gain money also from another wealthy Jew who hopes he will marry his daughter. The three speculators combine their resources to plot their construction of a factory. They raise the money and build the factory, but this is only the beginning of their troubles.

Wajda recreates the factory city in precise detail and in a flamboyant style that emphasizes the contrasts between wealth and poverty, the conflicts between the emerging forces of capital and labour, and depicts the grim conditions of the new factory era.

'Land of Promise is overpowering in its realistic reflection of the period: factory scenes, depressing back alleys and streets, and grimy buildings. Wajda has collected numerous details of city life to fashion a scathing portrait of industrialisation...'

Mosk, Variety

Golden Hugo, Chicago 1975. Gold Medal, Moscow 1975.

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