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The Promised Land

   
 

 Wajda at Lincoln Center

   

 

  

 

The City as Muse: directors sometimes fall in love with a city and celebrate it in their films, inviting viewers to share in their aesthetic delight and to explore the wonders of a particular urban landscape and society.  New Yorkers are lucky to have Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.  Poland has Andrzej Wajda.  The Film Society of Lincoln Center honors the great Eastern European filmmaker in Truth or Dare: The Films of Andrzej Wajda (October 17 - November 13).  In his 1975 epic The Promised Land, Wajda brings to life the19th century industrial capital of Lodz in all its glory.  

The film tells the story of three men who successfully start a modern textile factory together: Karol, a Pole (Daniel Olbrychski); Moritz, a Jew (Wojciech Pszoniak); and Max, a German (Andrzej Seweryn).  At the time Lodz was in the midst of a capitalist boom, an industrial revolution of unprecedented proportions.  The undertaking is not without problems - the three men come to blows and must make Faustian deals in order to survive.

In The Promised Land, Wajda paints a fascinating human canvas of Lodz and its inhabitants - its old bourgeoisie, its cut-throat capitalists, and its emerging minorities.  This was Lodz and Poland before the Nazis and before the communists, a dynamic city emerging from the miasma of medieval poverty as a forward-thinking modern polis.  Wajda's film is a song of lament for the multicultural Poland of the past and offers a vision of a diverse city where class and ethnicity took a back seat to ambition and progress - a vision as relevant today as a hundred years ago.    

 

See: The Promised Land, Lincoln Center 

Buy: The Promised Land

 

Tags:  film  poland    

 

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