Director: Marcin Kryzysztalowicz
Script: Marcin Kryzysztalowicz
Producer: Krysztof Gredzinski, Malgorzata Jurczak
Cast: Marcin Dorocinski, Maciej Stuhr, Sonia Bohosiewicz, Weronika Rosati, Andrzej Zielinski, Bartosz Zukowski, Alan Andersz, Andrzej Mastalerz
Poland 2012 96mins War Drama
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Based on a true story and shot in Slomniki, Malopolskie, this WWII Polish resistance movement flick is the epitome of grit. Rightly nominated for the Grand Prix at Montreal FF last year, Kryzysztalowicz has delivered the goods here and on a miniscule budget.
Grim in the extreme and minutely observed, utilising a finely constructed fractured narrative, Kryzysztalowicz tells his desperate story of a partisan group living close to starvation in the Polish woods. A completely convincing Dorocinski plays ‘Wydra’, a resistance soldier given the odious task of rounding up Gestapo informers from the nearby town and executing them unceremoniously; the lives of the resistance fighters depend on it.
Kryzysztalowicz doesn’t blink, doesn’t blanch, either from the immediacy of war nor the unrelenting bleakness, the on-going struggle, the existence that the partisans had to wring from the land during their exile from their homes and families. One can almost smell the soil and taste the pitiful stew.
As one has come to expect now from Polish fare, the cinematography is again exemplary, here from the very experienced and award-winning Arkadiusz Tomiak.
It’s nine years since Kryzysztalowicz last made a film and let it be hoped he doesn’t have to wait as long before delivering another. His script, like the story it is based on is wiry and honed, stripped bare of any fat, any spare. The acting is superb throughout and the story smartly told. The very evident humanity lifting it above the standard war pic.
It’s the tale, if indeed any were needed, about the extremity of war and what it makes people capable of, once there is simply nothing left for them in life, once brutality has left its bootprint indelibly on their souls and, by extension, forces you to ask of yourself- what would you do? How would you react, given the same stimuli?
Go with a strong nerve, but go. These stories need to be told and, moreover, they need never to be forgotten. AT