In Stock - should be despatched within 48 hours. Despatched from the UK. Delivery timesUsually 2-3 days to reach UK addresses. Europe takes around 2 days longer and International destinations take 1-2 weeks
FREE to UK addresses.
Costs to other countriesUK: Free
Western Europe: £2.00
Rest of the world: £3.00
If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it to us within 14 days. More details
Related Special Offers
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Produced in 2007
Main Language - Polish with English subtitles
Andrzej Chyra, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Maja Ostaszewska, Artur Zmijewski, Danuta Stenka, Jan Englert
Contemporary Crime • Contemporary Drama • Contemporary Political Film • Contemporary War Films • Contemporary Blu-rays • European Film • Eastern European Film • Blu-ray • Crime - Drama • Crime Blu-rays
Michael Brooke reveals the background behind this masterful and very personal work by the Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda
Normally when a filmmaker succeeds in making a film after literally decades of trying to get it off the ground, the end result is often referred to as a dream project. This would be grossly misplaced in the case of Andrzej Wajda’s sombre, moving celluloid memorial, as it was inspired both by the real-life murder of his father and his mother’s agonising (and never resolved) wait for confirmation of what she already knew was his near-certain fate.
The reason Wajda had to wait so long is explored by one of the film’s key themes: that the massacre of anything up to 20,000 members of the Polish military and intellectual elite in the Katyn forest in early 1940 became an absolutely taboo subject between 1945 and 1990, when Mikhail Gorbachev finally admitted that Stalin was responsible. Even something as ostensibly straightforward as recording a time and place of death as ‘Katyn, 1940’ on a tombstone or even a CV became a subversive political act, since the official line was that it was the Nazis that committed the murders after their invasion of the USSR in 1941.
In trying to convey the magnitude of the Katyn atrocity and its far-reaching effects on the Polish psyche, numerous stories are intertwined, some drawn from real life, others from great creative works such as Sophocles’ Antigone or Wajda’s own early masterpiece Ashes and Diamonds.
Particular attention is paid to the people left behind: mothers, wives and children, or the soldiers whose lives were fortuitously spared by something as trivial as a swapped scarf, and who find themselves permanently scarred by feelings of guilt.
The film is bookended by two immensely powerful scenes (ordinary Poles trapped on a bridge while fleeing Nazi and Soviet invaders on either side, and a restaging of the Katyn massacre itself), but the most quietly poignant moment comes on Christmas Eve 1939 in a Soviet-run POW camp, when a Polish general addresses his men not with empty patriotic slogans but a simple exhortation to endure whatever happens, as there won’t be a free Poland without them.
As indeed there wasn’t, for another fifty years.
Michael Brooke on 1st September 2009
Author of 135 reviews
Andrzej Wajda grew up with what he calls 'the Katyn lie' - the cover-up of the massacre of 20,000 polish officers, intellectuals and professionals by the Soviet army at the outset of World War Two. His father was one of the executed officers, and this is the film that he never thought he would be able to make.
Artur Zmijewski stars as Andrzej, a young Polish army captain who is taken prisoner by the Soviet Army. At the prisoner of war camp where he is incarcerated, he carefully records in his diary the details of the brutal and inhuman events that take place around him, which culminate in a three-day massacre.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 121 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: ART457DVD
Format: DVD Colour
- Interview with the director
- Making-of featurette.
People who liked Katyn
Claude Lanzmann, 1985
Director Lanzmann dedicated ten years of his life to Shoah, compiling this nine-h...
Roman Polanski, 2002
An award-winning drama based on Roman Polanski's personal experience in the ghetto and pianist Wl...
Customers who liked this also liked...
Also from director Andrzej Wajda
More from publisher Artificial Eye
Also Available from the Cast