Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Under The Phrygian Star|
Actors: Josef Nowak, Stanislaw Milski, Lucyna Wi
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UNDER THE PHRYGIAN STAR
The epic story continues with several twists in plot, a lot
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 09/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jerzy Kawalerowicz's "Under the Phrygian Star" (Pod Gwiazda Frygijska) is the sequel to "Celuloza." It continues the story of Szczesny (Józef Nowak) who we watched slowly become interested in communism in the first part. Now, we see Szczesny become deeply involved with the Communist Party, as well as meet a woman named Madzia and become romantically involved with her. "Under the Phrygian Star" continues the epic story based on Igor Newerly's novel with several twists in plot, a lot of political drama and even a few moments of unforgettable humor.
Many Polish films after World War II had at least a trace of communist sympathy which probably had less to do with the director's political feeling and more to do with pleasing the censor and fitting in. For example, Andrzej Wajda's films are often thought of as having pushed the acceptable limits of the censors as some of them exposed communism in a negative light; but even Wajda had traces of pro-communism thrown in his early work "Samson." Jerzy Kawalerowicz's "Under the Phrygian Star" takes the pro-communist stance much further and makes it one of the central themes of the film. It is quite possible that other directors put on a show and bowed to communism while Kawalerowicz genuinely supported them.
"Under the Phrygian Star" takes place before World War II and portrays the government of the time as one that persecutes communists. Communists meet in secret, work as a group for their cause and get imprisoned when they are caught. It portrays the communists as believing the group consensus is above the individual's ideas and the group is stronger than a person.
I found a few parts of the movie ironic. There is a memorable scene where Szczesny and Madzia are on a hillside and startled by children that crawl on the ground with just their arms because they were infected with a plague. Szczesny then goes into a philosophical rant in which he mentions people should build sewers to prevent such illness and be less concerned about collecting money for missionaries helping others half way around the world. At the end of the film, ironically, the workers go on strike while building a sewer due to wage issues. Strikes over wages and a powerful government that stop them are also ironic because the same events happened with the Communist government in Poland some years later after this movie was made.