Friday, April 13, 2012

KANAL (Polish) (1957)

With opening titles of the film we follow the bombs destroying the old ruined buildings and as the titles end, it introduces the battalion of moving soldiers and we hear the narrator’s voice, “These are the tragic heroes; watch them closely in the remaining hours of their lives.” The film draws us to the Second World War’s first and one of the most tormented victim country. What we follow in the film is survival account of Polish resistance army battalion of soldiers struggling against well equipped German forces in 1944. They knew very well that they inevitably lost the war and they won’t last long to see the day after tomorrow as the city is captured by German military and innocents civilians were butchered. Their only hope of survival is long and murky sewer tunnel. They get themselves into that underground canal seeking the way-out. Poor fellas wouldn’t know that one hell of maddening disillusionment lurking in that darkness! Unlike those expressionistic underground sewers of Hollywood noirs, no canal of the world cinema hit me as hard as this one! What we see for the rest of the film is unforgettable tragedy where horrors of the war bringing not only physical but also psychological doom.

Rare anti-war films make his audience an engrossing experience keeping the authenticity of war tragedy both collectively and personally. Andrzej Wajda’s ‘Kanal’ is undoubtedly one of the most uncompromising and striking anti- war document ever made. It brought to screen an unforgettable war tragedy where we witness that how war brought disillusionment over all sorts of idealism and patriotism. It’s enlightening to know that the film authentically portrayed the personal war accounts and experiences of many of actors who faced the real horror as war as soldiers including director Wajda and the cinematographer Jerzy Lipman.  Needless to say they made us felt us the authenticity of the war on frames with striking frames. This is my second Wajda film after his brilliant ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ starring Zbigniev Cybulski; Wajda’s most beloved and an iconic rebel Polish actor equivalent of James Dean. Will try to dig more of Wajda this month, keep watching this pages…  

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