Poland

Synopsis

Summer 1945. Right after the end of World War II, Tadeusz, a Polish soldier whom the war has deprived of everything, arrives in Masuria, a German territory before the war but granted to Poland afterwards. There he finds Rose, the widow of a German soldier whose death he had witnessed. All alone on a large farm, she gives Tadeusz a cold reception, nevertheless she puts him up for the night. In return Tadeusz helps her around the house. Though reluctant to admit it, she needs something more: protection from the looters who pester the farm. Gradually Tadeusz finds out the causes of her solitude. Against the background of a landscape devastated by the war, where hope has become a propaganda tool, love is born between these two from two disparate worlds ... impossible?

Director's Statement

The narrative of the film is a tale of love, an uneasy one, and on the rocks at that. She is a Masuria inhabitant, German or Polish maybe, which is a relative notion, dependent upon political manipulation; a woman who has suffered misfortune and basest humiliation at the hands first of the Russians and later the Poles. He is Polish; his life has been ruined by the Germans, war and occupation, a wreck of a man, a phantom. It is a biological instinct of self-preservation that they both share, but it’s soon clear that either can regenerate thanks to the other’s physical closeness. Hence this is a chance of life more than of love. Yet love will finally come at the last moment. In the background is the fundamental historical layer. The main plot develops, 1945-46, in the former Polish-Prussian borderlands, granted to Poland after WW II. Somewhere between the story of Rose and Tadeusz, the pastor’s prayer, his dispute with God and despair, a tale is spun about Masuria, a nation that fell victim to Polish and German nationalism and was consequently annihilated. Who were the Masuria inhabitants in the mid-20th century, what was distinctive about them? In the same breath we should mention: the Polish origin, German schooling, Slavic customs, German tradition, Polish last names, German first names, Polish language, German writing, Slavic religiosity, Evangelical denomination, apolitical attitudes ... It is my earnest desire to make this film a mouthpiece in defence of variety, regional and cultural identities, to make it help discern and accept differences of national, ethnic, and religious minorities. I want the Masurian landscape to stay in the viewer’s memory, to make him want to plunge in it, to recall, to teach, and to become enamoured of it. I hope to elicit your emotions. To move you, that is.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Wojtek Smarzowski

Written by: Michał Szczerbic

Produced by: Krzysztof Zanussi, Tadeusz Chmielewski, Janusz Morgenstern, Daniel Markowicz, Wojtek Pałys, Wlodzimierz Niderhaus

Cinematography: Piotr Sobocinski Jr

Editing: Paweł Laskowski

Production Design: Marek Zawierucha

Original Score: Mikołaj Trzaska

Cast: Marcin Dorocinski (Tadeusz), Agata Kulesza (Rose), Kinga Preis (Amelia), Jacek Braciak (Władek), Malwina Buss (Jadwiga)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2012