1941-1950DocumentaryPolandShort FilmTadeusz Makarczynski

Tadeusz Makarczynski – Suita warszawska AKA Warsaw Suite (1946)

A film suite divided into three parts showing successively the defeat of Warsaw, the gradual awakening of the capital and the first post-war Warsaw spring. The film has no commentary, only music, whose mood and rhythm are closely related to the character of the presented images.

The title of the film and its structure refer to the musical form of the suite – a series of miniatures connected by a programmatic content. Three musical themes by Witold Lutosławski and three film impressions by Makarczyński – defeat, awakening, and springtime – compose a poetic picture of post-war Warsaw. The first movement (adagio) shows the ruins of an extinct city. There are no people in it. The stumps of walls, towers, and destroyed monuments stand in the sky, where clouds drift, rarely revealing the sharply shining sun. The aesthetics of the images is based on strong contrasts of light and shadow, the edges of the frames are lost in blur, most of the shots are static. The middle part of the film is shot at a slightly faster pace. The first people appear on the streets. A war veteran, a former camp prisoner in a striped uniform, walks through the streets. Smoke drifts from a hastily assembled chimney. Someone carries a fragment of a bed frame. Someone puts out a flower on the windowsill. The camera records the rhythm of reconstruction work. Stores are opening, a shoe shiner is offering his services again, a city musician wanders around the courtyards. The first trains laden with passengers’ grapes cross the bridges. In the finale entitled “Warsaw Spring” the artists focus on the observation of nature. Life returns to Warsaw’s Lazienki Park, dance and joy to the towns near Warsaw. The tempo of this part of the Suite is dictated by a lively and merry allegro. The final shot shows the dark silhouette of the Warsaw Mermaid against a bright sky. The city survives, but will forever be marked by death. “The Warsaw Suite”, as one of the first post-war documentaries, grew out of the author’s conviction that a document can be not only a simple registration or a propaganda message of considerable impact, but also art. Makarczyński’s documentary explorations, especially Warsaw Suite and Life is Beautiful (1957), laid the foundations for the development of the creative trend in Polish documentary filmmaking.

213MB | 18m 58s | 1024×576 | mkv


Language(s):Polish intertitles

One Comment

  1. Masterpiece! I just saw her. this is a unique document, what a superb photograph! And Lutoswlawski’s music crowns a sublime and tremendously expressionist vision despite the fact that what he envisions is reconstruction.

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