Wajda’s first feature launched one of the most durable careers in world cinema. Barely out of film school, he demonstrated a remarkable mastery of the medium; vividly captured the 1942 Warsaw milieu in which he’d fought as a teenager against the Nazis; introduced the legendary Zbigniew Cybulski and another young film student, Roman Polanski; made a startling break with the traditional theatricality of Polish screen acting; and created what would become the first part of his classic war trilogy (followed by Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds). Inevitably colored by the obligatory exaggeration of a Communist resistance, the film contrasts official reports of wartime heroics with cruel reality.

Please note that the February 11 screening of this film will take place in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.