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Eroica
dir. Andrzej Munk / Poland 1957 / 78’
subtitles: English

Cast

Scherzo alla Polacca: Edward Dziewoński, Barbara Połomska, Ignacy Machowski, Leon Niemczyk, Kazimierz Opaliński, Zofia Czerwińska, Jerzy Felczyński, Roman Hubczenko, Zygmunt Listkiewicz, Eleonora Lorentz, Bogdan Baer, Stanisław Bareja, Emil Karewicz, Tomasz Lengren, Eugeniusz Szewczyk, Jerzy Turek, Roman Wilhelmi, Tomasz Zaliwski; Ostinato lugubre: Kazimierz Rudzki, Henryk Bąk, Mariusz Dmochowski, Roman Kłosowski, Bogumił Kobiela, Józef Kostecki, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Józef Nowak, Wojciech Siemion, Ignacy Machowski

awards

Mar Del Plata IFF 1959 – FIPRESCI Prize; Warsaw Mermaid – Polish Film Critics’ Award for best Polish feature film of 1958

Film description

One of the most important works of the Polish film school. In Eroica, Munk demythologises Polish wartime lore by presenting an iconoclastic, revisionist take on heroism in two acts. The first act, entitled Scherzo alla Polacca, is a satirical story centred on Dzidziuś Górkiewicz, an idler who becomes accidentally involved in Warsaw’s uprising against the German occupation in 1944. Górkiewicz unintentionally takes on a dangerous mission, which he completes with bravado, but his deed turns out to be futile. As the act closes, Górkiewicz’s ultimate gesture provides an unexpected twist.

The second act, Ostinato lugubre, is set in a German POW camp after the uprising’s collapse. Dispirited Polish officers are cramped into barracks. Munk shows that in such conditions even the noblest patriotic virtues can become caricatures. Only one thing maintains the prisoners’ sanity and resolve – their thoughts of lieutenant Zawistowski, the only man to successfully escape from the camp. Yet the escape is also a myth and one for which a high price will be paid unbeknownst to the officers whom it sustains.

While some critics accused Munk of anti-heroism, Eroica in fact gave war heroes a genuinely human face.


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