Powstanie Warszawskie
August 24, 2013 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Powstanie Warszawskie/Warsaw Rising is a new Polish movie about the 1944 Warsaw Uprising that makes use of contemporary footage, colourised and dubbed.
posted by MartinWisse (14 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Stop colourising things. It's shit.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:24 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fascinating. The Warsaw uprising and subsequent attempted erasure of the city is such a tragic piece of World War II history (which, sadly, has no lack of tragic pieces, I suppose). I'm glad it's becoming something more generally known about and talked about.
posted by chasing at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2013


Stop colourising things. It's shit.

I disagree in this case. Reproducing historical events in this way does enhance our understanding and experience of them and bring them to life in a way grainy black and white footage does not. Sure, I have no desire to watch a film such as Casablanca in color, or even, heaven forbid, The Sound of Music in black and white. However events that had such a profound impact on those that experienced them, and those who history these events are part of, I think deserve making them more "alive" in this manner.
posted by vac2003 at 1:59 PM on August 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


However events that had such a profound impact on those that experienced them, and those who history these events are part of, I think deserve making them more "alive" in this manner.

It taints the truth, however slightly, with fiction. That is not good.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:41 PM on August 24, 2013


It taints the truth, however slightly, with fiction. That is not good.

Unlike Schindler's list which tainted the truth with faithful black and white.

I think colourisation is important in that it allows many more to connect with the events. I'm sure lots of people see grainy old black and white footage and switch off because it's a documentary.

It's not as if they are destroying the original footage.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 4:32 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks to the OP for posting this. This is an undertold story of enormous horror and heroism.

It taints the truth, however slightly, with fiction. That is not good.

This is true. Poland didn't get color reality until 1982, as a token Communist concession to Solidarity.
posted by Sauce Trough at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not as if they are destroying the original footage.

This is the key point. Adding colour to a film is a form of historical interpretation which, like all historical interpretation, adds both an implicit argument as well as historical context which makes the evidence more accessible to a popular audience.

If they were painting over the original film, then it would be destructive and unethical. If they were adding colour and sound in a knowingly inaccurate way (eg. dubbing the Poles to say 'hooray for the Germans' or something) then it would be bad and counter productive - if not exactly formally unethical - because they would be adding a deceptive argument.

As it is, they are making the evidence more immediate and comprehensible to a modern audience. If you're against that idea, then you're going to be just furious when you find out about history books and museums.
posted by Dreadnought at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


As it is, they are making the evidence more immediate and comprehensible to a modern audience.

Modern audiences haven't demanded colourization ever. Ted Turner tried it decades ago and was made a laughingstock in short order.

Colourizing Hollywood classics is bad enough, but colourizing documentary footage is downright perverse. History is not a colouring book. Images of war are not enhanced by adding rosy cheeks.

I'm sure lots of people see grainy old black and white footage and switch off because it's a documentary.

And I'm sure plenty of people will see colourized footage and switch off because it's a documentary. It's still a documentary; people who don't like documentaries still won't like it -- and neither will people who don't like colourization.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on August 24, 2013


The point of the documentary is the truth of what happened, not the truth that it could only be recorded in black and white.
posted by bigZLiLk at 10:11 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I visited Poland in high school I was genuinely shocked that it existed in luscious, vibrant technicolor. I mean, duh. But having only ever seen Poland in the media (15 yrs ago) as black an white WWII footage, I guess my rain was a little warped re the color of Poland. It was weird, man.
posted by atomicstone at 5:50 AM on August 25, 2013


In the attic sat my great-grandmother's great wooden trunk, the dark wood frosted with dust under the bare light bulb. It opened with the smell of red licorice, revealing gelatin silver wedding photos and a diploma from a handwriting school, bobbins of black and white thread, flowers flattened like charcoal smudges between blank sheets of brittle paper, a crushed dark velvet hat, a funeral notice: monochrome mementos of a time before rainbows. I removed the wooden tray and peered into the shadows below: black ledgers, a silver box full of grey buttons, a set of ebony tuning pegs from a lost violin, patterns for a dress, white on black, faded grey pencil sketches on stiff white boards: a black cat, a white fence, grey clouds, an empty field.

Beneath it all was a striped blanket, a thin woolen wedding gift, the only proof of color in this box of ages: the dark olive green of my grandfather's army coat, a stripe of pale prairie yellow, primrose and alfalfa honey, a black rich as a retriever's fur, sunset orange with a pinkish tinge, soft foamy green like the flecks in my mother's otherwise grey eyes, a thick line of clotted cream, then black again, then olive, and so on.

When I doze beneath my great-grandmother's blanket my dreams are no longer black and white. The horsecarts and rutted roads of centuries past now wind their way through verdant forests, saturated in the deepest colors of my mind's eye.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:24 AM on August 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


colors
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:16 PM on August 25, 2013


This is great.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 PM on August 25, 2013


The point of the documentary is the truth of what happened, not the truth that it could only be recorded in black and white.

The latter is part of the former.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 PM on August 25, 2013


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