Andrzej Munk: Wry Smiles, Suspicious Glances
December 7, 2005 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Eroica. Film director Andrzej Munk’s tragic death at age thirty-nine might have formed the plot for one of his own darkly sardonic works: a Polish Jew and an active resistance worker during the war, he was returning home from shooting his film Passenger at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1961 when an oncoming truck struck his car. He left behind only four feature films, but his influence was prodigious. As one of the key figures of the postwar “Polish School” of filmmaking, along with Wajda and Kawalerowicz, he helped to shape a vision that broke with the official social realist optimism of Eastern-bloc dogma and cast a skeptical eye on official notions of heroism, nationalism, and life in the Stalinist-occupied state. Mentor to Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski, his influence can be felt even in the films of a later generation of Polish filmmakers — directors like Zanussi and Kieslowski. More inside.
posted by matteo (7 comments total)
In a short time Munk would bring his brand of healthy skepticism to his work in feature films. His characters never seem to know what it is they really want; at best they're naïve, at worst simply dishonest. His film is always about the individual, never really about the collective. Unlike the "model heroes" of the early postwar cinema, Munk's protagonists call the very notion of heroism into question; much of their screen time is spent reacting to events over which they have little or no control.
posted by matteo at 11:02 AM on December 7, 2005

Kieslowski studied, like Andrzej Munk and Wajda, at the Lodz Film School, graduating in 1969. Though artistically indebted to Wajda he felt closer to Munk, who also came to features after experience as a documentarist.
posted by matteo at 11:06 AM on December 7, 2005

...the "Cracow Group", had issued a manifesto calling for the exploitation of documentary techniques in feature films, which has been described as a dominant trait of the "Cinema of Moral Anxiety".
posted by matteo at 11:07 AM on December 7, 2005

Cheers, matteo. A pleasant evening's reading ahead...
posted by jack_mo at 1:36 PM on December 7, 2005

I'm still wading through, but thanks for the links matteo.
posted by safetyfork at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2005

posted by shoepal at 1:45 PM on December 7, 2005

posted by matteo at 3:01 AM on December 8, 2005

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