Kanal (Andrzej Wajda, 1956)

What's it about? A dishevelled company of Polish resistance fighters are forced into the sewers of Warsaw to escape the advancing German army during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, only to encounter a different set of horrors underground.

Is it any good? Atmospheric lighting and marvellous sound design brilliantly captures the claustrophobia and foulness of the labyrinthine sewers, whilst the symbolic use of light and dark throughout is impressive. However, the actions of some characters seem a little unlikely at times, diminishing the emotional impact somewhat, and the allusion to the hell of Dante’s Inferno a little overdone. Nevertheless, this is still a fine film.

Anything else I should know? This is the middle (and best) film in Wajda's impressive War trilogy, preceded by A Generation and followed by Ashes and Diamonds.

What does the Fonz think? A sobering tribute to the real-life men and women who endured such hellish existence.





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