In 1999, Polish director Andrzej Wajda received an Honorary Academy Award(r) for his body of work-more than thirty-five feature films, beginning with A Generation in 1955. Wajda's second film, Kanal, the first ever made about the Warsaw uprising, securedhim the Special Jury Prize at Cannes and started him on the path to international acclaim, secured with the releases of his masterpiece, Ashes and Diamonds in 1958. These three groundbreaking films ushered in the "Polish School" movement and later becameknown as the "War Trilogy." But each boldly stands on its own-a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the struggle for personal and national freedom, and Wajda's unique contribution to homeland and world cinema. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this director-approved edition, with new transfer of all three films and extensive interviews with the director and his colleagues.
This three-disc collection of Polish director's Wajda acclaimed "war trilogy" opens with "A Generation" (1955), which follows a young Polish man who joins the anti-Nazi Resistance during the Warsaw uprising and risks his life to help escapees avoid capture. Tadeusz Lomnicki, Urszula Modrzynska, Roman Polanski star. Next, after the German destruction of Warsaw that followed the 1944 ghetto uprising, a small band of Polish soldiers and partisans attempts to escape through the city's sewers, in "Kanal" (1957). Tadeusz Janczar stars. And, "Ashes and Diamonds" (1958) is Wajda's haunting look at Poland on the final day of World War II, as a young Resistance fighter shoots the wrong man and is captured by the newly appointed Communist authorities. Zbigniew Cybulski, Ewa Krzyzewska star. 4 3/4 hrs. total. Standard/Widescreen; Soundtrack: Polish; Subtitles: English; audio commentary; interviews; newsreel footage; photo gallery; poster gallery; art gallery; bonus short "Ceramics from Ilza" (1951). In Polish with English subtitles.