Saturday, May 31, 2008

seattle international film festival: a recommendation

today, i went to see katyn, a polish film playing at the egyptian theatre as part of the seattle international film festival. it was a very good movie (i think it was nominated for an oscar for best foreign film last year), although at times it was confusing and difficult to watch. it was about a historical event that i had never heard of - the killings of polish army officers by the soviets in 1940. the story was told through the eyes of the officers' wives and mothers, whose only news of the fates of their husbands/sons is names read over a loudspeaker by the germans. the movie was sort of confusing because there are a lot of characters, many of whom disappear and reappear throughout the movie. at times it was hard for me to keep the story lines straight, but that didn't bother me because i could follow the general plot.

i think that one of the most frightening scenes was when a university professor goes to what he thinks will be a meeting with a german officer (this also confused me because it seemed a little out of place in the film) the professors (most of them elderly) are told that the university will be closed and that they will be sent to a camp to "think about their behavior." then, nazi soldiers enter and force the professors onto trucks. later, the wife of one learns that he has died.

near the end of the film, a student enrolls in university but is told that he has to delete that his father was killed by the soviets from his resume. he refuses to do that, goes outside and tears a communist poster from a post, and is later killed by soviet (i think) soldiers.

be forewarned: the last five minutes or so of the movie are really graphic. i had to look away.

now i am interested in learning more about poland.

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