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Pokolenie [The Generation]

The best thing about The Generation was its cast. Their acting style had little in common with the prewar model. Something really new was being born: a generation of young actors - Cybulski, Polanski, Janczar - whose natural element would be the cinema. Tadeusz Janczar's role was an especially important breakthrough. Particularly striking was the ring of truth in Janczar's dialogues, very different from the hammy irritating dialogue of prewar Polish films.

The Generation shows craftsmen's workshops like those with which I had become so familiar during the German occupation, and council houses and poor suburban streets like those where I spent my days in the wartime. I tried my best to "show the great issues of those times reflected in the characters of my suburban film boys and their working class families from Warsaw's Wola and Kolo districts. The German occupation was a national disaster, but life for these boys had never been so beautiful and carefree. So they are real, not drawn on a heroic scale."

Andrzej Wajda


Most films about the resistance seem trite, compared with the savagery of this picture. It achieves an almost news-like quality in its portrayal of an oppressed people fighting back. Some of the scenes - a youngster killing a Nazi with near lustful glee or a grim chase in a factory - have a terrifying, compulsive authenticity.

"Daily Cinema", London, 24 June, 1960

For the hero of the film, his fight is not a reflex act of resistance, but a battle in class warfare. Even if the film is "realistic", in a sense, it does not portray a typical underground fighter. For any member of the wartime conspiracy, the crucial conflict was with Nazi Germany. Any organisation that would offer you a gun was considered suitable and patriotic. Unfortunately, in Wajda's film, the prime members of the resistnce movement seem to be the Communists. The truth is, Communists did not do much during the war, which was to become their Achilles heel. Therefore, a suitable myth had to be created.

Marek Hlasko
"Die Weltwoche", Zurich, 13 May, 1968

This film is available at the (with English subtitles)

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