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Quo Vadis
Quo Vadis
Actors: Boguslaw Linda, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Jerzy Trela, Agnieszka Wagner, Franciszek Pieczka
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
UR     2009     4hr 30min

Acclaimed filmmaker Jerzy Kawalerowicz directs his last film one of the most lavish and expensive films ever made in Poland. — This familiar tale of Christianity set against the backdrop of Emperor Nero and the burning of R...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Boguslaw Linda, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Jerzy Trela, Agnieszka Wagner, Franciszek Pieczka
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Studio: MGE
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/28/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 4hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Polish
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Quo Vadis
C. Kou | IL | 06/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is actually an expanded cut of the most expensive film in Polish history, which ran 3 hours. This one is and hour and a half longer, as it was cut to a 6 one-hour-long TV miniseries format (45 minute episodes without commercials). With the long format, scenes that seemed rushed in the theatrical cut now have a more appropriate pacing, and we see much more of the minor characters, most notably Glaucus, whose story should not be missed. For those of you familiar with the book, this is the most straightforward and faithful representation of the classic novel made for the screen (those not familiar with the book, GET THAT FIRST). MINOR SPOILER ALERT for those who don't know the story.

This version far surpasses the 1950 version and the Italian version of the 90s in faithfulness to the novel, in acting, and in production value. The film is in the original Polish with English subtitles, which works well since the novel was originally in Polish.

Petronius is wonderful, coming across as thoughtful, sometimes cynical, and always witty. Vinicius is marvelous, sufficiently impetuous and very convincing. Ligia is played by a gorgeous Polish beauty and delivers well. Incidentally, I have yet to see Ligia played by a brunette as she is supposed to be in the novel (the blonde Lygia seems to be a throwback to 1950).

Nero is nuts, and his delivery is a bit over-the-top. Okay, very over-the-top. This actor took theatricality to its extreme, which is, of course, a legitimate interpretation of Nero's character, and I think works better the story than Ustinov's bumbling version (though his acting was a joy to watch and the only high point of the 1950 version).

There are two reasons for docking this film two stars. Don't get me wrong, I loved the film, mostly because I love the book, and as I said, this is a faithful representation of it. But it has two major flaws:

1) It is too graphic, both in nudity and in violence (though if it were only in violence I might have given it 4 stars). Nero's parties leave no Roman decadence to the imagination. Polish bare breasted women galore. Thankfully, that sort of stuff is only in scenes were they would logically be, and not scattered randomly throughout the film. Happily, Ligia, even in scenes where she is unclothed (such as the changing scene and the bull scene), remains tastefully covered by strategically placed obstacles.

The violence of the Christian executions, likewise leaves nothing to the imagination. While I generally don't have a problem with violence in film (I couldn't love Ridley Scott's historical epics if I did), this was a bit much. I don't know exactly how they did it, but you actually witness people being mauled by lions in full frame--no extreme close-ups or cutaways here to obscure your view.

In any case the graphic nature of this film (especially the nudity) prevents it from being appropriate for the whole family, which is a real shame.

2) They changed the order of events in the ending. They wanted to end the film with St. Peter returning to Rome (oddly with St. Peter's Basilica prominently featured in the background) as some sort of Roman Catholic statement. The problem with this is that they had to shift Nero's death a few scenes earlier in the film. Which makes Peter's return to Rome rather pointless since the persecution would presumably have ended with the suicide of Nero a few scenes earlier.

They should have left the narrative untouched. It made logical sense as it was and makes none at all as it is now.

In any case, definitely worth seeing, especially if you loved the book. But not for family viewing. For mature audiences only. And you'll have to overlook the narrative flub at the end of the story."
A Biblical Epic Mini-series
Derek Flint | BROOMALL, PA USA | 07/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I chanced upon this superb Polish production of the classic Henryk Sienkiewicz novel while routinely checking up to see if the 1950 MGM version had arrived on DVD yet. What a great suprise and a treat to find this version available from Amazon, and at a great price! In widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Surround, with English subtitles in yellow.

Highly recommended for fellow biblical epic junkies like myself, this is a must see. As stated by fellow reviewers, there are parts that do not make this family friendly, but that fit in with the hsitorical context. Having not read the book yet, I was weaned on the 1950 Mervin Leroy version with Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr. Although I miss Peter Ustinov as Nero and Leo Genn as Petronious in that earlier version, the leads in this 2002 production come across more believable as Marcus and Lygia. There is a particularly fascinating character, a little Greek weasel of an informant, who plays a connecting thread to the strengths and weaknesses of the different characters. His ultimate fate is one of the film's most touching moments.

Anyway, I can't say enough good things about this except forget the MGM verison for the time being and send away for this! You'll be glad you did!"
Perfect for those who enjoy historic epics
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 01/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Quo Vadis" is a grand historical epic based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz running four and a half hours in length. Although this is long by most standards, it really does allow the plot to fully develop and be brought to a conclusion. We get a glimpse of many parts of life in Rome, from wild drunken parties with plenty of topless women, a gruesome close up of lions eating Christians in the coliseum, and even the burning of Rome itself.

The story has several elements that are all dovetail each other. We have a young patrician named Marcus Vinicius (Pawel Delag) who falls in love with Lygia (Magdalena Mielcarz), a Christian woman. At first she is not interested in him, but soon returns his love. Petronius (Boguslaw Linda), who is one of Nero's advisors, tries to help him physically capture his love as he has influence with Nero. Matters are complicated as Nero is out of control and is most concerned about his insane self-interests, which leads to trouble for many others.

Boguslaw Linda was one of the best performers in the film. As he was the middleman between Marcus and the crazed Nero, his position from the start was precarious. He portrayed the patrician who was calm and collected in moments of confusion, sincere with his feelings, and often had witty remarks. Linda's acting was fantastic.

"Quo Vadis" is perfect for those who enjoy historic epics. Overall, I thought the underlying message was about forgiveness and love, something we can all relate to and topics that would not hurt us to reflect upon. With nearly all of its characters experiencing moments of triumph and suffering, we witness and experience a wide range of emotions in this story that takes place about two thousand years ago."
Perfect for those who enjoy historic epics
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 03/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Quo Vadis?" is a grand historical epic based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz running four and a half hours in length. Although this is long by most standards, it really does allow the plot to fully develop and be brought to a conclusion. We get a glimpse of many parts of life in Rome, from wild drunken parties with plenty of topless women, a gruesome close up of lions eating Christians in the coliseum, and even the burning of Rome itself.

The story has several elements that are all dovetail each other. We have a young patrician named Marcus Vinicius (Pawel Delag) who falls in love with Lygia (Magdalena Mielcarz), a Christian woman. At first she is not interested in him, but soon returns his love. Petronius (Boguslaw Linda), who is one of Nero's advisors, tries to help him physically capture his love as he has influence with Nero. Matters are complicated as Nero is out of control and is most concerned about his insane self-interests, which leads to trouble for many others.

Boguslaw Linda was one of the best performers in the film. As he was the middleman between Marcus and the crazed Nero, his position from the start was precarious. He portrayed the patrician who was calm and collected in moments of confusion, sincere with his feelings, and often had witty remarks. Linda's acting was fantastic.

"Quo Vadis?" is perfect for those who enjoy historic epics. Overall, I thought the underlying message was about forgiveness and love, something we can all relate to and topics that would not hurt us to reflect upon. With nearly all of its characters experiencing moments of triumph and suffering, we witness and experience a wide range of emotions in this story that takes place about two thousand years ago.
"