|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Artur Zmijewski, Maja Ostaszewska, Andrzej Chyra, Danuta Stenka, Jan Englert, Magdalena Cielecka, Agnieszka Glinska, Pawel Malaszynski, Maja Komorowska, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Oleg Drach|
|Genres:||Drama, World Cinema|
|Run time:||2 hours 1 minute|
|Rental release:||05 Oct 2009|
By Tom Charity from LOVEFiLM
Oscar nominated Polish war drama directed by the acclaimed Andrzej Wajda.
Most helpful review
Katyn-1940 menslaughter of Polish officers by Soviets.By a customer from Sheffield , 07 May 2009
[Highly rated reviewer]Watch this movie to see what totalitarism was in The Soviet Union during the WW2. The movie depicts a true story of thousands of Polish officers captured and shot dead in secret by Soviets in 1940. Very tragic and touching scenes.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (46) Yes |
- No (1)
Stalin's massacre and the triumph of truth over liesBy LGrundy (8 reviews) , 07 Jul 2013
[Highly rated reviewer]In the spring of 1940, on the orders of Stalin, 22,000 Polish army officers detained at the Kozielsk, Ostaszkov and Starobielsk concentration camps were shot in the back of the head in Katyn, Miednoje, Charkov and other locations throughout the Soviet Union. Their bodies were then buried in pits. Because the largest of these massacres took place at the Katyn Forest, near Smolensk in Russia, the killings are collectively known by Poles as the 'Katyn Massacre'. In 1943, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, they found the mass graves, exhumed the Polish dead and revealed the Soviet atrocity to the world. In 1944, having retaken the Katyn area from the Germans, the Soviets exhumed the Polish dead again and blamed the crime on the Nazis. Not until 1990, after the fall of communism, would Russia admit that the Soviet NKVD [the communist secret police] had executed the Poles. Brought to the screen by the acclaimed Polish film director, Andrzej Wajda, 'Katyn' is what he has described as his 'most personal film yet'. Wajda's own father was one of those murdered at Katyn and one of the highlights of this DVD version of the film is a 50 minute interview with the director in which he talks about what motivated him to make the movie and recalls his family history. As he explains, Katyn was essentially two things: 'the crime' and 'the lie' and one of the first things he had to decide was whether he should make the film from the point of view of his father, who suffered 'the crime', or his mother, who suffered 'the lie'. The lie states that the murders took place in 1941 instead of 1940 because in 1940 Katyn Forest was Soviet territory. In 1941 it was German-occupied. Therefore if it took place in 1941 it would be a German crime not a Soviet one. As one of the characters in the film makes clear, something as simple as having 'Died at Katyn in 1940' engraved onto a loved one's gravestone could have terrible consequences during the years when Poland was ruled by a Soviet-backed, socialist government [Wajda himself was unable to put the correct date of death on his father's gravestone until 1989 & the fall of the Soviet Empire]. The story is mostly told through the eyes of women: the wives, mothers, sisters and girlfriends of those murdered because, as Wajda says, 'that reflects the historical reality'. The story is also partially told in flashback - which can make it a little confusing - although Wajda saves the brutal murders themselves until the very end of the film. In his interview, Wajda explains that one of the most unbelievable things about the massacre of the Polish officers is that they were killed individually. It wasn't a 'mass murder' in the usual sense. The officers were each shot through the head one by one [the world's most prolific mass-murderer, a hard-Left fanatic and communist psychopath called Vasili Blokhin, personally shot and killed over 7000 of the officers at Katyn, at a rate of one every three minutes over a period of 28 nights in April 1940]. This is a historically important film which portrays events little known to those in the West and as such is a 'must-see'. As Wajda points out in his interview, the murder of Poland's intellectual elite at Katyn [and during the Warsaw Uprising] was a pre-requisite for the imposition of socialism in Poland. Stalin himself had said that trying to impose socialism on Poland was like trying to put a saddle on a cow. Pre-war Polish society and culture was fundamentally ill-suited to the kind of dependency and subjugation demanded by Soviet-style communism and Stalin hoped that by literally 'blowing Poland's brains out' he would make the country easier to manipulate and control. He didn't. Many years later, in 1989, it would be a Polish trade union - Solidarity - which would bring about the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union and the communist system it imposed on Eastern Europe. Nowadays, nearly every Polish city has a Katyn memorial in remembrance of that terrible event which marked the start of a very dark period for Poland. Polish-Russian relations remained strained to this day. There is an eerie postscript to the Katyn Massacre which is worth mentioning. On the 10 April 2010 a Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed just outside of Smolensk near to the Katyn Forest. On board were 96 high-ranking members of Poland's modern-day elite, including the Polish President and his wife. All 96 people on board were killed in the crash. The plane was taking them to an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. A second Katyn tragedy had befallen Poland.
A harrowing filmBy a customer , 22 Apr 2013This is a harrowing film and all the more compelling for portraying the issues and conflcts that arise when a state tries to supress the truth. I liked it, if 'liked' is the right word for events so dreadful.
Confusing & lackingBy a customer , 10 Mar 2013I found this film interesting as it was about WWII from another perspective. A less known massacre. However I found as the film progressed quite confusing at times. As new characters kept appearing, making me wonder how they related to other existing characters or whether it was the same person just aged. Eventually it tied together, but not too obvious too quickly which made watching it quite frustrating. I also felt that the film could have gone into more depth about what else was going on in Poland. It featured solely around this one event & the relatives of these soldiers not knowing the full story...seeking the truth. Thought that the overall plot was quite thin, as Poland was devastated by the war & I don't feel this was depicted strongly enough. I also thought the translations/wording was quite obscure at times & hard to get the gist of what was being said, making me rewind bits to keep up to speed. (Worried I would miss something relevant). The main crux of the film comes at the end (in probably the last 10 minutes) just basically confirming what happened, which was pretty predictable at the beginning when the officers were told they were being relocated...so really there was nothing new that hadn't already come to light. (In the first quarter hour). Shame! Could have been a lot better & had a stronger storyline depicting living in Poland during WWII. Quite drab.
dull dullBy a customer , 07 Mar 2013This film does appear realistic with accurate events despite all the good points it has to offer i was bored watching this and didnt watch it through to the end.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (0) Yes |
- No (1)
Katyn - The TruthBy Jagster (23 reviews) , 15 Aug 2012The film is an accurate portrayal of the mass murder by Stalin of the Polish officer core in the early part of WW2.
The story follows the impact on the family of the officer at the centre of the film during the imprisonment and aftermath at the end of the war.
A film that is very well made with lead characters all well acted and if you like history as opposed to out and out Hollywood sensationalisation then worth a view.
- Was this review helpful to you?
- (1) Yes |
- No (0)