A Generation (1955)

A Generation (Pokolenie)a generation dvd
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Written by Bohan Czeszko from his novel
1955/Poland
Zespol Filmowy “Kadr”
First viewing/Hulu

When a film is created, it is created in a language, which is not only about words, but also the way that very language encodes our perception of the world, our understanding of it. — Andrzej Wajda

Despite some evident propaganda obligations, Wajda reveals his mastery of the medium in his first feature film.

The setting is occupied Warsaw.  Stach Mazur lives in a slum bordering on the Jewish Ghetto.  He has launched his personal resistance against the Nazis by stealing coal from boxcars headed for Germany.  One day, he is spotted.  His comrades are killed and he is wounded.  He flees to a workingman’s pub.  The denizens, impressed by his courage, offer to get him a job.

Stach reports to work at a company that makes bunkbeds for German barracks.  He is the low man on the totem poll and worked inhumanely.  A workmate lectures him on the teachings of Karl Marx and the duty of workers to fight for their rights.  He puts Stach in touch with Dorota, a young woman who organizes a Communist youth militia.

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The rest of the film follows the battles of the youth brigade with the Nazis.  Among other things, the young people support the uprising in the Ghetto.  Along the way, Stach falls in love with Dorota.  With a very young Roman Polanski as one of the partisans.

generation 1

Wadja manages to combine beautiful composition with a brisk pace.  The story is kind of predictable but I was engrossed the whole time.

Clip – wow

3 thoughts on “A Generation (1955)

  1. This sounds interesting. I never saw this one, but I read plenty of the insurgency in Warsaw. It seems to have a prominent place in the Polish national pyche.
    I believe some of his movies will be coming up on the list and is wondering if I should add this as a teaser.

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