5 July 2019 | gbill-74877
Shows Wajda's promise, but flawed
'Pokolenie' certainly has some interest for being Andrzej Wajda's first feature film, and for showing the heroism of the Polish resistance fighting their Nazi occupiers. It also shows some of the young director's filmmaking skills, with interesting compositions and narration which give it a highly personal feel, particularly at the beginning. However, because Poland was under the subjugation of the Soviet Union when it was made, Wajda was forced to depict the resistance as being communist led, when the reality was the USSR was another enemy to Poland, having invaded from the east just weeks after Hitler had from the west, and committed their own horrifying atrocities. The combination of these recurring references to the Party and an overall tone which seems light and off for most of the film makes it simply average, which is unfortunate. There are some really nice visual moments - the expressions on the faces of the Polish citizens as they stand in front of their hanged compatriots, the chase and fall through the spiral staircase, and the photo booth with the giant heart all come to mind, among others - but it's tough to overcome the constraints Wajda was operating under. This seems to be a case where the occasionally great visuals exceed any deep emotional impact we feel, which seems wrong given the magnitude of the historical moment.