Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Poland, 1957. Zespól Filmowy “Kadr”. Story and Screenplay by Jerzy Stefan Stawinski. Cinematography by Jerzy Lipman. Music by Jan Krenz. Production Design by Roman Mann. Costume Design by Jerzy Szeski. Film Editing by Halina Nawrocka.
The second in Andrzej Wajda’s terrific trilogy of war films, this one takes its protagonists down to the sewer tunnels of Warsaw where they hide from invading Nazi forces. After standing ground for two months in their uprising against the Germans, what is left of the city’s fighting rebels decide to take their chances underground for survival. Wajda is, as always, a master of atmosphere and tension, but the subtle nuances of the characters involved are what make it feel so rich and so far ahead of many other war films you’ve ever seen. No one is ever depicted as a broad, familiar archetype, each character has an admirable pulse. Terrific stuff, to be followed by the excellent capper of the three films, Ashes And Diamonds.
The Criterion Collection: #284
Cannes Film Festival Award: Jury Special Prize