The movie consists of three episodes of WWII in Poland, all centered on children. The title translates to Birth Certificate, a reference to the third episode. In the first, episode, On the Road, a young boy and a soldier are thrown together by chance. The time is a few days after the beginning of the German invasion on September 1, 1939. The boy has lost contact with his family fleeing East from Warsaw. The soldier, driving in the same direction a rickety horse cart is in accidental possession of the now useless documents of his destroyed unit. He is looking for remnants of Polish forces and nonexistent French and British soldiers he believes have been sent in Poland's help. German brutality is visible at a distance. In the second episode, Letter from the Camp, three young brothers and their mother try to cope with the father's absence; he is an officer imprisoned in a German camp. His letters offer hope, but are inconsistent with the savagery of the German occupation, now in plain sight. The third episode, A Drop of Blood, exposes in a darkly humorous way the Germans' monstrous misconceptions on race. All episodes are open ended; life goes on, and relief is not in sight. Of course, a black-and-white movie in episodes about civilians caught in war brings to memory Rosellini's Paisà and other movies of the forties and fifties but the feeling is very different; while Rossellini doesn't stint on drama, this movie is subdued and low key, without being less effective. Direction by Stanislaw Rózewicz is atmospheric and compelling, supported by outstanding cinematography by Stanislaw Loth. Good acting all around. This is one of the more than 200 classic Polish movies that have been digitally restored recently with excellent results. Many are available on the Web or the rental services.
Drama / War
Drama / War
Three episodes dealing with the harsh situation of children at the time of war. They stay at orphanages, wait for their parents to come back, help the soldiers, hide in the forests and do their best to survive.
October 28, 2020