After the war a man tries to piece together the story of Father Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. Based on the real priest, who later became a catholic saint (1894-1941).
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O filme é maravilhoso. Santo Maximiliano Maria Kolbe, fez aquilo que o Cristo fez pelos irmãos, deu a sua vida em favor de um pai de Família. Sua vida nos inspira não simplesmente como um legado de heroísmo, mas acima de tudo parta nós cristão o Martírio, Não existe maior amor daquele que doa a sua vida ao seu semelhante.
Most interesting idea of this film is responsibility. but for what? For those who are not deserving to be sacrificed for their sake? Or for the sake of sacrificing, for the sake of humanity or the religious intentionality? Whatever his motivation, it shows that this film can be read from different perspectives.
Long before he was wisecracking in Tarantino's silly historical revisionisms Christopher Waltz was a Polish Auschwitz escapee in this, one of Krzysztof Zanussi's more overtly Catholic morality plays: a man allows ten others to die in his place; another offers his life for that of a man he doesn't even know.
The weak point: it is a discourse on (Kolbe's) sainthood which needs a narrative device (the disbelief and the remorse of an escaped man) to develop.
Dialogues feel artificial but Zanussi does his best in showing inhumanity, the dichotomy faith-disbelief and humans' blindness while facing pain.
The historical subject may hide the feeling Zanussi usually delivers in his movies, but it is a solid piece nevertheless.
Academic in style and form, in spite of the promising first quarter, Zanussi's hagiographical approach is addressing important issues with respect to the distinction between church and faith, touches on the problem of Auschwitz surviror guilt but ultimately dwindles in terms of the confidence of the script and of the conventional visuals. Historically important but not much more really, by Zanussi's own standards.
It's one of the weakest films by Zanussi. It tries very hard to present different point of views about the ultimate sacrifice of life but it quickly spirals down into a mawkish Catholic propaganda. It has its strong moments but it lacks magic Zanussi’s previous films have.
Formally brilliant as ever, but eventually Christopher Waltz bowing down to the news of beatification is not the best of images for a closure. However, the question of the politics of memoir is surely an interesting takeaway from this film, something consistently discussed by Imre Kersetz in his books on Holocaust. Not his strongest work, but always a pleasure to see Zanussi's precision.