Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The futility of war was one of Polish director Andrzej Wajda's major themes, and he explored it from nearly every perspective imaginable, using storytelling styles which range from the strictly commercial to those focusing more on symbolic imagery. As this film opens it is 1939, and war seems to be only a distant possibility to a group of vacationing young Polish Lithuanians who are seen greeting their Lithuanian Catholic and Jewish neighbors respectfully. In particular, Witek, a young man hoping to pass his final exams so as to begin university study, is having a bit of a lark, attempting to woo a lovely fellow student, and braving a shotgun blast from her protective father. He and his fellows are full of foolhardy and pompous talk about war and death. Meanwhile, Polish troops are mobilizing to fight the Germans, and the impending storm of war overshadows everything. One of the most idyllic scenes of young love ever committed to film (in the opinion of one reviewer) graces this film, and the story closes just as the war is beginning in earnest.
forbidden-love, jealousy, murder, rage, student, sweetheart