Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 09/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zemsta is one of Andrzej Wajda's newer films. Like his adaptation of so many of the classics in Polish literature, Zemsta is based on Alekesander Fredro's epic poem. The story, set in the 17th century, is about two quarreling families that live in the same castle divided by a brick wall. Every chance the two neighbors get they cause each other trouble. However, there is romance brewing within the castle walls, as the son of one man and the niece of the other like each other, despite their guardian's hatred of each.
The film is similar to a play, and the characters even occasionally talk to the audience. Much of the dialogue is in rhyme (in Polish anyway, not in the English subtitles). But it is more than a drama, it is also a comedy. After watching the film more than five times, I still laugh so much I start choking every time it gets to the part where Gajos and Olbrychski are scribing a letter. Interestingly, Roman Polanski plays a leading role in this film, and he even sings. "
Pranay Manocha | London, UK | 08/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have no knowledge of Polish and had never seen the play this movie is based on. Yet, this movie is one of those stunning theatrical pieces that only foreign movies can be.
Very good direction, the movie is flawless in its flow, scenes move easily, the storyline is good and the humour, even though I dont know Polish, was well understood! Well, at least I laughed!
The acting is very good, Polanski as Papkin plays his part very well. This movie is very recommended if you like the odd surprise of a foreign movie that provides excellent drama and a fresh look.
A Delightful Farce By An Inspired Master
Uncle Borges | Via Lungomare 6 | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even after fifty odd years of mostly first-class film making, Andrzej Wajda doesn't cede to surprise and enchant. Lately he has given a nice turn to classical Polish Lit of the 18. and 19. centuries...After a costumed period-piece based on the main Polish epic, "Pan Tadeusz" (Adam Mickewicz) -pan Wajda tackled this delightful 1834 farce written by Aleksander Fredro. Story per se is rather thin and of second import.. a property feud between two noblemen unlucky enough to share the same castle! Sounds boring? Not one bit. Watch for Roman Polanski in the role of Papkin - a bungling small-time Baron Munchausen -never knew that Polanski is still so much on top of his native tongue (and culture I dare say). There was some, mostly Polish gripes against the casting of the stunnigly beautiful Agata Buzek in the role of Klara. Perhaps the reason was a tad bit of envy. Agata's father was, betwixt 1997 an 2001, no less than the prime minister of Poland. Nontheless she makes a fine impression. The only big-time complaint against this DVD is the lack of any translator's effort. It must have been challenging enough to memorize and act out the entire film in the 19. century Polish rhymed verse. So, the film, the cast, the director and Polish culture itself, have deserved a finer, more creative if not accurate translation. This way a casual viewer froma foreign country, just by following the subtitles, misses the point as the considerably witty and humorous dialogue gets totally voided. * The thing that delighted in "Zemsta", was also the sense that all the playful thespians, including Polanski, , had had a terrific rapport and had greatly enjoyed helping Wayda make this sexy romp of a flick."
Patrycja | 12/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"'Zemsta' is one of the famous comedies in the history of the Polish theatre. Wajda did a good job in bringing Fredra's 19th century play to the silver screen.
The cast is made up of the greats Olbrzyski, Gajos and even Roman Polanski. The text is hillarious and witty however the English translations are not very good, occasionally whole phrases are left out or changed."
Not exactly bad but not exactly good either
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Andrzej Wajda's film of popular Polish theatrical warhorse Zemsta is often broader than you might expect, not least because of a horrendously over the top and very theatrical performance by Roman Polanski as Papkin, the cowardly lovestruck braggart caught in the middle of a feud between two neighbors who share a Polish castle and are constantly plotting against each other, much to the chagrin of their infatuated children. The theatricality is quite deliberate: despite the location photography (another snow-covered castle, making it an ideal companion-piece in many ways for Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers on a double-bill), it's very much a piece of filmed theatre complete with asides to the audience and a final curtain call. Unfortunately, while never quite disastrous and despite having a few mildly amusing moments, it's also never quite successful, leaving you with a curiously unsatisfying experience that the poor translation on the DVD does little to help. Still, kudos to Rafal Krolikowski on a superb performance as the Notary's son that manages to straddle the theatrical and the cinematic with an ease the film itself never quite manages."