Sunday, September 04, 2011

Movie Review: KATYN

1940. After Germany's invasion of Poland, Joseph Stalin ordered the liquidation of the Polish officer corps, slaughtering nearly 22,000 men in Katyn Forest. Based on this horrific, historical event, Katyn tells the affecting story of four fictional officers and their families as they struggle to uncover the truth. (from the back cover)

Based on the novel "Post Mortem" by Andrzej Mularczyk

This foreign movie held me captive throughout. As families waited for the truth about their loved one's being held prisoner, they held onto the lies being fostered by the captors. Visually stunning in its filming and thought provoking in its subject matter. Why massacre thousands of Polish military leaders one-by-one with a single shot through the head, then blame it on the Germans? Long-term Russian occupation and brutality is my guess.

This review is from: Katyn (DVD)
This movie is nothing short of excellent. The look, the language and the lessons are not to be missed. Polish Director Andrzej Pajda does an excellent job of putting fictional clothes on an atrocious, factual event that was almost lost to history.

Its the story of a little known genocide (22,000 slaughtered) that took place during WWII in Katyn Forest. Its the story of how war tears apart families and compromises allegiances. Its the story of a country's occupation by foreign invaders and its national resistance toward that oppressor. Finally, its the story of crimes against humanity and the lingering effects on those left behind to mourn their loss.

Pajda was so adept at weaving together the warring threads of three countries (Poland, Germany and Russia) that viewers might find themselves peeking between the soldier's seams to determine who's wearing the uniform. The Politics and Propoganda become apparently real as the movie comes to an unforgettably emotional climax. I was also impressed by the subtle linkage of one family's story with that of another family. I didn't expect to make sense of some things I saw early in the movie, only to have their meanings illuminated later. The power of an Excellent film!

Katyn Memorial

The DVD Extra which shows an interview with Director Andrzej Wajda is priceless. Here's what he had to say on the importance of education and developing one's self:

"Developing one's self through one's interests or work, making movies, creating an identity, the fact that one searches for people who think alike, is dangerous to any authority because authority always wants subjugation; to agree to everything. It wants an easy society."

On Patriotism: "Those who preach it the most, are the least suitable for it. They have the least, so to say, heart, courage, and judgment to take advantage when the time is ripe."

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