Kanal

"Excellent"

Kanal Review


Beloved Polish director Andrzej Wajda was at his career peak right at the beginning of it, in the 1950s, when the scars of WWII were still fresh, particularly in Poland.

Wajda may very well have produced his finest film ever in 1957 with Kanal (literally "Canal"), about the dying days of the two-month long Polish resistance against the Germans in late 1944 (though the setting is real, the story itself appears completely fictional). The film begins with the usual sparring in the ghetto, as Nazis are killed by guerrillas then hunted down by an endless flood of soldiers behind them. Eventually the war is lost (and a narrator intones mournfully that we're witnessing a tragedy right at the beginning, so I'm not spoiling anything) and the remaining few dozen survivors reluctantly enter the sewers of Warsaw to try and escape to a liberated part of town.

Very quickly, the group splits up into small enclaves of survivors, most of whom are utterly lost and afraid in the dark and foul environment of the sewers. The story splits apart as we follow a selection of these groups: Largely consisting of resistance soldiers who skirmish with Nazis on their trail. But one duo stands out: A freedom fighter and his girlfriend, a lovely yet streetwise woman (Teresa Izewska) who normally spends long hours in the sewers looking for valuable cast-off goods. She seems to have the most hope leading her war-torn and injured boyfriend to safety, but in the end even her quest is for naught.

The myriad booby traps and the ever-encroaching threat of Nazis are nothing compared to the intense claustrophobia experienced in the sewers, and one quickly starts to wonder how on earth Wajda actually shot a film down there.

Wajda's never been my favorite director, and even Kanal has its flaws, brought on by Wajda's over-earnestness that can lend a feeling of History 101 absurdity to his movie. But Kanal also offers Wajda at his most restrained and the top of his technical craft. If you see one film of his, see this one.

Kanal is included on Criterion's new box set of Wajda's war trilogy, including the skippable A Generation and the highly-regarded Ashes and Diamonds. Kanal includes an interview with Wajda along with production photos.



Kanal

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 20th April 1957

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 6

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Łączniczka "Stokrotka", as Podchorąży Jacek "Korab", dowódca plutonu, as Porucznik "Mądry", zastępca "Zadry", as Porucznik "Zadra", dowódca kompanii, as Kompozytor Michał, as Sierżant "Kula", szef kompanii, Stanisław Mikulski as "Smukły", zastępca "Koraba", Adam Pawlikowski as Niemiec przy wylocie kanału, Zygmunt Maciejewski as Porucznik "Gustaw", Ewa Wiśniewska as Dziewczyna podająca wodę powstańcom, Władysław Kowalski as Polski żołnierz, Zdzisław Leśniak as 'Mały', as "Zefir", Kazimierz Dejunowicz as Kapitan "Zabawa", Kazimierz Kutz as Powstaniec w kanale, Ryszard Filipski as Mężczyzna w studzience, Tadeusz Ross as Powstaniec

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.