It’s 1900, and for the last 130 years Poland has been wiped off the map of Europe; it’s still occupied by three invaders: Russia, Austria and Prussia. In a village near Cracow, a wedding takes place between a poet from the city and a country girl. The intelligentsia celebrates alongside the peasantry, but this is the full extent of any “agreement” between these two social classes, and the wedding guests are made aware of it by visiting apparitions. The chance for a national uprising is duly lost.
In the output of Andrzej Wajda, adaptations of Polish literary classics play a very important role. The Promised Land, based on the novel by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, and The Maids of Wilko, based on a short story by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, were both nominated for Academy Awards. A reference to The Wedding, a play by Stanislaw Wyspianski written in 1901 and inspired by the real wedding of the poet Lucjan Rydel to a country girl, appears in his film Ashes and Diamonds. Wajda also directed the play for the theatre.
In a daring yet faithful adaptation, Wajda breaks with the script’s stage origins. Acclaimed actors deliver lines in verse in a natural way, several scenes are filmed outdoors, and apparitions that seem so artificial on stage become convincing on screen, for the cinema authenticates fantasy. Although immersed in Polish history, Polish national mythology and Polish painting (especially that of Matejko and Wyspianski), it is nonetheless easily understandable anywhere. It’s a thrilling film, with amazing cinematography by Witold Sobocinski and magical music by Stanislaw Radwan that crossed linguistic and geographical borders.
2.29GB | 1 h 46 min | 1024×576 | mkv