First part of Wajda's trilogy, completed by Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds. Those were exciting times for Polish cinema: 'In Poland art fulfils a special function...it carries a certain burden of tradition through the fact that for a hundred years the state did not exist, or it existed only in literature, in art, to which everyone could refer'. Cinema, sometimes laboriously, had to carry the Polish identity. In the '50s, Wajda processed great public events (later too, perforce through analogy), and the trilogy covers the Resistance in Warsaw. A Generation, set in occupied Warsaw in 1942 and revolving around the setting up of a youth resistance group, was his first feature, and hews to the Socialist Realist line. Courage, honour and self-sacrifice inform the actions of his hero, who discovers a sense of purpose in unity, the collective and the Party. Hope opens the trilogy, disillusionment closes it, and the final part centres on an individual crisis and a great star performance fit to rank beside James Dean from Zbigniew Cybulski, here featured in a supporting part. One from the heart.
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