Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lotna 1959, the ill fated stallion

Director: Andrzej Wajda

Lotna is the name of  a white stallion with a few dark patches. In circles where horses were esteemed he is of the finest quality, lean of limb and of a  magnificence of grace and speed . We see it flying like an arrow, it's limbs devouring the meadows in an awesome perfection of rhythmical whorls.

This is a film about the events in September 1939 as the German artillery pushes into Poland. The events are about some years before those chronicled in Schindler's List and The Pianist.

 Wajda (1926-)  is a leading director and he narrates the melancholy events in which he lost his own father. This would have been a courageous film to make in Soviet dominated 1959 Poland about events related to the recent traumas of the war which touched on national pride and the question of responsibilities.

 Was the invasion a walkover for the Germans? If not what happened and what was the nature and extent of the response to the invading forces? One wholly fictional incident of a disastrous cavalry charge on the advancing tanks was particularly controversial. Surely it was not meant as literally as horses against tanks.
It speaks rather of the inequality of the balance of forces , of the courage and the ravishment.

Wajda is a poet-historian-proud Pole-film director who here more than giving  political or historical answer draws a metaphorical picture as a supressed sob and a salute to a proud and ravished past. The rust brown chromes of the film are wholly appropriate to the fading culture it evokes.

It is through the travails of Lotna the horse and a foredoomed love story of a cadet and school teacher that Wajda pin points his perceptions of that fateful winter in evocative poetry and powerful metaphors . The stallion is the strand around which Wajda weaves a masterful narrative.

The metaphors of the glorious steed, the dismembered sculptures emerge from the depths of the Polish psyche, the  ravages of history and time.

1 comment:

Plum said...

It sounds interesting, I bet it could be enjoyed by all ages-- children for the animals, and adults for the historical significance. Nice one!


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