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The Men of the Blue Cross
Błękitny krzyż
dir. Andrzej Munk / Poland 1955 / 55’
subtitles: English


Stanisław Byrcyn-Gąsienica, Stanisław Wawrytko, Stanisław Marusarz, Stanisław z Lasa Gąsienica, Ludwik Ziemblic, Józef Krzeptowski, Józef Wawrytko, Wojciech Siemion, Elżbieta Polkowska, Tadeusz Giewont, Roman Hoły, Władysław Gondek, Stefan Joniak, Jakub Wawrytko, Andrzej Walczak, Jan Krzystaniak


Venice IFF 1955 – Bronze Medal; Trent International Mountain and Travel Film Festival 1955 – Second Prize

Film description

Winter 1945 – Dr Juraj has just crossed over the front lines from Slovakia to the Polish mountain town of Zakopane to seek help for wounded and starved partisans hiding close to German positions. A dozen Polish mountain rescue volunteers set out for the Slovakian slopes of the Tatra Mountains in a difficult and dangerous rescue operation that remains one of the most celebrated mountain rescue missions in Polish history.

Munk’s quasi-documentary reconstruction of these legendary exploits in The Men of the Blue Cross demonstrates his subtle approach towards plot construction. As the movie’s credits state: Minor changes introduced into the story by the authors have not unduly altered its events or significance. Adding to the film’s realism, working conditions during filming were so harsh that several of the participants became ill, even though many of the actors were the very same rescuers who had participated in the historic mission 10 years earlier. The effect is a powerful and engaging story played with authenticity and unspoilt by any underlying propaganda. The film is also notable for some of the best and most breathtaking shots of the Tatra Mountains in Polish cinematic history.

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