Box-set pick: Andrzej Wajda: Three War Films

Box-set pick: Andrzej Wajda: Three War Films

Chris Chang

(Criterion, $79.95)

Capable of standing alone as the singular, self-contained artistic monuments that they are, the three films making up Andrzej Wajda’s so-called “war trilogy” are now a box-set-cure-time-capsule of beautifully schizoid WWII Polish ideology. They exemplify the most potent non-Gallic new wave forms–and provide a blast from cinema’s Eastern Bloc past that will leave you shell shocked. From the neorealist underpinnings and resistance growing pains of A Generation, to the architectonic fatalism of Kanal, to the bona fide masterwork of symbolist expressionism that is Ashes and Diamonds, the three films conjure a fever-dream dialectic of a nation’s identity crisis. Watching them back to back, an allegorical motif emerges: hope is a beautiful woman–a fleeting vision one can see, sometimes touch, but never catch.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Film Society of Lincoln Center

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group