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Poland, 2011, 94 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Historical/Period, War
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Polish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Wojtek Smarzowski
Producer: Wlodzimierz NiderhausEditor: Pawel LaskowskiScreenwriter: Michal SzczerbicCinematographer: Piotr Sobocinski Jr.Principal Cast: Agata Kulesza, Marcin Dorocinski, Kinga Preis, Jacek Braciak, Malwina Buss, Szymon Bobrowski, Edward Linde Lubaszenko, Eryk Lubos
Wojciech Smarowski’s haunting love story wrapped in a tragic tale of war takes place during a little-known period of Polish history: the post-World War II persecution of the Masurians, indigenous residents of the region that is now northeastern Poland.
When the area known as Masuria reverts to Polish rule after years of German control, residents face discrimination from Poles who consider them German enemies. Another threat: Russian soldiers who pillage and plunder as they resettle Poles annexed to the Soviet Union during the war. The Masurians, descendants of the Baltic Prussians (German-speaking Lutherans), are forced to undergo humiliating nationalizing procedures and attacks, all the while juggling which language to speak in order to survive.
Tadeusz, a soldier in the failed Warsaw uprising, sheds his uniform in an effort to slough off his violent past after witnessing his wife’s rape and murder by conquering soldiers. He seeks out war widow Rose, an indigenous Masurian who herself has been savagely raped repeatedly. Sharing her sadness and disgust with war, he clears Rose’s potato field of land mines. He offers her his protection, even as she faces brutal persecution and the failure of her health, and the two live together on her farm. With time, they develop a deep and mature love in this heartrending tale of endurance.
- REBECCA CARO
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