Film

Film

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The 900-pound gorilla of new wave-age DVD-box events, this eight-disc set starts with the Polish maestro’s astonishing one-two pulverizing of Resistance self-mythology, the life-in-a-river-of-shit odyssey Kanal (1956) and the fame-making, lonely-are-the-brave ode for rebels who can’t stop rebelling, Ashes and Diamonds (1958). Wajda’s later masterwork Man of Marble (1976)—another blistering reconsideration of political heroism, and one of the most influential political films ever made—might also be a reflexive choice, but here come five films that haven’t been widely distributed or seen on these shores. Everything for Sale (1969) is an exasperated paean to self-destroyed movie icon and Ashes star Zbigniew Cybulski, while Landscape After Battle (1970) creates an open-eyed vision of post-camp-liberation love and anarchy. Promised Land (1974), an Italian-style epic of amoral industrial rise and socialist fall, may outscope any other Wajda, but detail and mood do the job in The Young Girls of Wilko (1979), a kind of Virgin Suicides in reverse in which a young man in the 1920s returns to his village and becomes embroiled in a family of five sisters—all of whom have loved him at one point in their lives. And, finally, there’s the new Zemsta (2002), an autumnal riff on a Polish folktale starring Roman Polanski.

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