Tag Archives: Andrzej Wajda

War trilogy

Film again, this time a War Trilogy by Andrzej Wajda, a prolific Polish director. I watched the films over a period of one month. They are very powerful, show the shocking and thoughtless damage of war and the consequences people have to face in the aftermath.

The first one is called A Generation and tells a story of a youth, petty criminal, who during the Nazi occupation robs German trains of coal, during one of the escapades his friend gets shot. Our protagonist gets an apprenticeship in a workshop and later on joins the communist movement.

Can you recognize the very young Roman Polanski in this picture?

The second film called Canal is about the Warsaw Uprising, the last days of struggle for the resistance fighters trying to escape from the Nazi oppressors through the Warsaw sewers, the opening line says:

“Watch them closely, for these are the last hours of their lives”

It’s a story of bravery, love and commitment. A homage to the young soldiers of the Home Army who fought for their country.

The last part of the trilogy is called Ashes and Diamonds. The action of the film happens on the last day of war, Germans surrendered, a couple of soldiers from the Home Army are assigned to kill a communist commissar however they end up shooting regular plant workers by accident. They still have to carry out the orders while one of them falls in love…

An excellent performance from a cult actor Zbigniew Cybulski who also acted in A Generation.

Warsaw was almost entirely destroyed after the war and there is this beautiful scene when one of the soldiers is trying to sweet talk a concierge into letting him a room; the concierge, a Varsovian, is reminiscing on the old capital.

Poetically shot brutal reality of war.

Films & exhibitions

Usually I am really good with exhibitions and see most of them but summer is slightly different, there is always a picnic or an outdoor activity I’d rather do. I had a scan through all the events and there are few I definitely want to go and see:

The Popeye Series by Jeff Koons at The Serpentine

Futurism at Tate Modern

Richard Long and Classified at Tate Britain

Walking In My Mind at Hayward Gallery

Elizabeth Peyton at The Whitechapel Gallery

Cinema is a different matter, I was not attracted by any of the films so far this year apart from Synecdoche NY. I love Charlie Kaufman and his directorial debut did not disappoint, however it was bit too long.

This summer there are few films that I would love to see:

Coco avant Chanel, can’t wait for this one, out end of July

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, debut by Rebecca Miller, out now

Katyn by A. Wajda, out now

Antichrist by Lars von Trier, I am a huge fan of his work, out July 24th

So fingers crossed I will see them all!

Weekend fun

Yesterday we braved the cold and wind and had the first barbecue of the year in our friend’s garden in Notting Hill. We even had blue tarpouline roof! How very English.

Watched Promised Land by a prolific Polish director, Andrzej Wajda. The films tells a story of three friends opening a textile factory during the industrial revolution in the city of Lodz (where I am going this summer, very exciting!) and how it all goes wrong. The film is full of amazing imagery and great actors including a beautiful actress Kalina Jedrusik. I forgot how pretty she was.

The film shows how greed and debauchery can bring people to ruin. It also shows the contrast between the rich industrialists and the poor folks flooding to cities from villages.

Unfortunately didn’t get to V&A as my friend had a major flooding in her apartment but I did manage to catch the Van Dyck exhibition on it’s last day at Tate Britain. I am not a Van Dyck fun, the paintings are bit flat, faces lack expression, the proportions are very often wrong. He clearly couldn’t paint hands and at the later stage of his career employed someone to do it for him. Having said that it was worth a visit, I do like to see exhibitions dedicated to one artist as it allows me to look carefully at their work and decide whether I like them or not.