“Watch them closely, for these are the last hours of their lives,” announces a narrator, foretelling the tragedy that unfolds as a war-ravaged company of Home Army resistance fighters tries to escape the Nazi onslaught through the sewers of Warsaw. Determined to survive, the men and women slog through the hellish labyrinth, piercing the darkness with the strength of their individual spirits. Based on true events, Kanal was the first film ever made about the Warsaw Uprising and brought director Andrzej Wajda to the attention of international audiences, earning the Special Jury Prize in Cannes in 1957. —The Criterion Collection
Like John Ford and Roberto Rossellini, Andrzej Wajda was anointed from his arrival on the world stage as the official film-maker of his country; the artist whose works best interpreted the dynamic changes of his nation’s history. Born in 1926 to an army officer and a school teacher, Wajda’s family was progressive in matters of culture and education. As it would for many young men of his generation, Wajda’s life was permanently altered by the Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939; the event which marked the official start of the Second World War. Wajda went into hiding with his mother while his father was drafted into active duty. It was only in 1989 that Wajda received confirmation that his father was murdered in the Katyn Forest Massacre; an event which informed his 2007 film Katyn.
After the war, Wajda studied painting at the Kraków School of Fine Arts. However, Wajda became restless with his chosen medium and became inspired by reports of the formation of the National Film School… read more
A strange and haunting road movie. No trip has been this harrowing and pointless since Jonah walked in circles inside the belly of the whale. Considering Poland's immediate post war history, it's not surprising that there is no light at the end of this tunnel.
While the other two films in Satyajit Ray's Calcutta trilogy - Pratidwandi (The Adversary) and Jana Aranya (The Middleman)—show the bleak prospects