Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Generation [1955]

Andrzej Wajda, one of the most renowned and revered filmmakers to have emerged out of Eastern Europe, made a striking debut with the lyrical and harrowing drama set during WWII. The first installment of the highly acclaimed ‘Three War Films’ trilogy (also known as ‘Underground’ trilogy), also comprising of Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds, A Generation is a touching coming-of-age tale at the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Poland. The story concerns the journey of the protagonist Stach (Tadeusz Lomnicki), a callow youth belonging to a poor family, from a life of delinquency and waywardness, to becoming a hero of the Polish resistance movement against the Germans. Two chance events transform and shape his life – the death of a friend during a silly act of bravado, and meeting Dorota (Urszula Modrzynska), the beautiful leader of an underground Communist youth cell. He is immediately besotted by her and eventually falls in love with the irresistible lady, and that makes him take the first step towards heroism. The movie is, at times, quite sentimental in its depictions of love and loss at the times of war and turbulence, as well as in its strong romanticization of heroism, bravery and courage. But Wajda, who had himself been part of the Resistance during that era, imbued the proceedings with gritty realism and authenticism, and maintained reasonably tight control during the mellower moments, making this beautifully photographed film an emotionally affecting watch. The movie comprises of an audacious single-take dolly sequence, during the opening credits, slowly panning across the Warsaw slums where the protagonist resides.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Genre: Drama/War Drama/Romantic Drama/Resistance Film
Language: Polish
Country: Poland

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