1957 Cannes Special Jury prize. 1959 BAFTA Nomination for Most Promising Newcomer Award (Teresa Izewska )
Criterion's transfer is taken from a fine grain print made from the original negative, and is a major improvement over the muddy Polart release, here offering proper image clarity, and improved sharpness between the fine gray shadings of Jerzy Lipman's superior cinematography. There's also a new set of subtitles, and two very important video interviews that place the Warsaw Uprising in proper historical context.
As with the other titles in Criterion's Wajda War Trilogy set, there's a half-hour interview session with Wajda, colleague Janusz "Kuba" Morgenstern, and critic Jerzy Plazewski. In their respective segments, the trio chronicle the film's production history, and government apathy (if not dislike) for the film project that was based on the recollections by author Jan Nowak-Jezioranski. Wajda also highlights one particular sequence that alludes to the Russian Army's decision to wait for the uprising to run its course before entering Poland , which was filmed in such a way so that only native Poles would recognize the sharp jab at the Soviets military.
Author Nowak-Jezioranski also appears in what became his final taped interview, before passing away in 2005, and interviewer Wajda uses the Q&A session to present clear perspectives on Moscow's stand with Poland, the German decision to wait out the uprising, and the strong willpower and resourcefulness of his countrymen and women who extended the conflict far longer than their invading enemies thought possible.
John Simon's essay offers a more detailed look at the numerous characters, and a collection of stills fill up the DVD.
Criterion's Andrzej Wajda War Trilogy boxed set includes new transfers of A Generation, Kanal, and Ashes and Diamonds.
© 2005 Mark R. Hasan