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Poland 1956
Directed by
Andrzej Wajda
92 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


The second of Wajda’s “War Trilogy”, coming between A Generation (1955) and Ashes And Diamonds (1958). Kanal was a hit at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.and established the director's name internationally as a leading young gun of the then-ascending Polish New Wave. It is cleverly but almost too beautifully lit and photographed (the scantily clad blonde compounding the anomaly) by Jerzy Lipman for its subject matter, that of the escape of a group of partisans from the Germans during the Warsaw uprising of 1944 through the sewers of Warsaw underground section of the film was shot on a specially-built set).

Whilst there is some effort to establish the individual characters, the general tide of events overwhelms them  with their collapse into madness, delirium, cowardice and so on too sketchily dealt with to stand to convince. Nevertheless the film is effective in creating a symbol of entrapment for the Polish people under the Nazi boot.

DVD Extras: Umbrella’s Andrzej Wajda’s War Trilogy release includes both A Generation and Ashes And Diamonds as well as a modern day interview with Wajda (44m).

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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