|Directed by||Andrzej Wajda|
|Written by||Bohdan Czeszko|
|Release date(s)||25 January 1955|
|Running time||83 minutes|
A Generation (Polish: Pokolenie) is a 1955 Polish film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It is based on the novel Pokolenie by Bohdan Czeszko, who also wrote the script. It was Wajda's first film and the opening installment of what became his Three War Films trilogy set in the Second World War, completed by Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds.
A Generation is set in Wola, a working-class section of Warsaw, in 1942 and tells the stories of two young men at odds with the Germans occupation of Poland. The young protagonist, Stach (Tadeusz Lomnicki), is living in squalor on the outskirts of the city and carrying out wayward acts of theft and rebellion. After a friend is killed attempting to heist coal from a German supply train, he finds work as an apprentice at a furniture workshop, where he becomes involved in an underground communist resistance cell guided first by a friendly journeyman there who in turn introduces Stach to the beautiful Dorota (Urszula Modrzynska). An outsider, Jasio Krone (Tadeusz Janczar), the temperamental son of an elderly veteran, is initially reluctant to join the struggle but finally commits himself, running relief operations in the Jewish ghetto during the uprising there.
- Tadeusz Łomnicki as Stach Mazur
- Urszula Modrzyńska as Dorota
- Tadeusz Janczar as Jasio Krone
- Janusz Paluszkiewicz as Sekuła
- Ryszard Kotys as Jacek (credited as Ryszard Kotas)
- Roman Polanski as Mundek
Because at the time it wasn't possible to adapt machineguns to shoot blanks, all shots of automatic weapons were done with live ammunition shot into sandbags off screen.
On its face, the film is a coming-of-age story of survival and shattering loss, delivering a brutal portrait of the human cost of war. As with all of Wajda's films, however, Polish history and the individual's struggle in the face of crushing political circumstances are just below the surface. In A Generation, as in Ashes and Diamonds, the communists and the nationalist Home Army, each representing a diametrically opposed view of Poland's future, are set on a collision course. For Stach, his work for the resistance is part of a larger class war and the struggle for communism.
A box set of the Three War Films was released by The Criterion Collection. A Generation includes an exclusive interview with the director and film critic Jerzy Płażewski, Wajda's 1951 film school short Ceramics from Iłża (Ceramika Iłżecka), production photos, publicity stills, posters, and original artwork by the director and an essay by film scholar Ewa Mazierska.
- On Becoming a Filmmaker interview with Andrzej Wajda included with Criterion release of A Generation
- A Generation at the Internet Movie Database
- A Generation at AllMovie
- Criterion Collection essay by Ewa Mazierska