|Directed by||Andrzej Wajda|
|Produced by||Zespół Filmowy Kadr|
|Written by||Jerzy Stefan Stawiński|
|Distributed by||Zespół Filmowy Kadr|
|Running time||95 min|
Kanał (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkanaw], Sewer) is a 1956 Polish film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It was the first film made about the Warsaw Uprising, telling the story of a company of Home Army resistance fighters escaping the Nazi onslaught through the city's sewers. Kanał is the second film of Wajda's War Trilogy, preceded by A Generation and followed by Ashes and Diamonds.
The composer Michał manages to telephone his wife and child in the German-controlled portion of the city. After a few words, she tells him that the Germans are clearing the building and that they are coming for her. Then the line goes dead. The next morning, 23-year-old Officer Cadet "Korab" apologizes after walking into a room to find the second in command, Lieutenant ″Mądry″, and messenger girl Halinka in bed. (Halinka later reveals that "Mądry" is her first lover.) A German attack is beaten off, but "Korab" is wounded.
Surrounded by the enemy, "Zadra" is ordered to retreat through the sewers to the downtown district. Now down to 27 fit to travel, including "Korab", they slog through the filth.
"Daisy", their guide, asks "Zadra" to let her help "Korab", claiming that the others can find their way easily enough. "Zadra" allows it. However, the pair fall further and further behind. When they reach the right turnoff, "Korab" is too weak to climb the upward sloping tunnel, so they rest for a while. He notices some graffiti on the opposite wall, but cannot quite make it out. "Daisy" tells him it says "I love Janek", when the name is actually Jacek, "Korab"'s first name. Afterward, she drives him on, not letting him stop. They proceed in a less taxing direction. Finally, they see sunlight. By this time, "Korab" is half blind and at the end of his strength. He cannot see that the exit is closed off by metal bars. "Daisy" finally reveals her feelings for him, kissing him before telling him that he can rest for a while.
The main group follows "Zadra" for a while, but they become lost without "Daisy". Finally, when "Zadra" tells Sergeant "Kula" to order them onward after a brief rest, they remain where they are. "Kula" lies and tells "Zadra" they are following in order to get him to keep going. Eventually, the only remaining soldier following "Zadra" and "Kula" is the mechanic "Smukły".
Meanwhile, "Mądry", Halinka and Michał are also on their own. Eventually, Michał loses his mind and wanders away, playing an ocarina. Upon reaching a dead end, "Mądry" cries out that he has somebody to live for; when Halinka asks who, he tells her he has a wife and child. She asks him to turn off his flashlight, then shoots herself. "Mądry" finds an exit, but when he emerges, he joins the rest of his unit as German captives. Despondent, he kneels beside the bodies of others who have apparently been executed.
"Zadra", "Kula" and "Smukły" find another exit, but it is booby trapped. "Smukły" disarms two German grenades, but is killed by the third and last. "Zadra" and "Kula" find themselves in a deserted part of the city. When "Zadra" tells "Kula" to bring up the rest of the men, "Kula" admits he lied. Enraged, "Zadra" shoots him and reluctantly heads back down for a futile search for his men.
The script was written by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński who himself survived in the sewers as a soldier of Armia Krajowa (the Polish underground resistance army) during the Warsaw Uprising. It was made by P.P. Film Polski at its production unit, Zespół Filmowy "Kadr"
Kanał earned Wajda the Special Jury Prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. Censorship remained strong in Poland, but the fall of the Stalinist regime of Bolesław Bierut following the death of Joseph Stalin led to a loss of control allowing the film, "showing the tragic fate of those who followed the wrong orders", as the press put it at the time,[who?] to be made. Polish critics state that the film paved the way for other films of the Polish School of filmmakers.[who?]
- Teresa Iżewska as "Stokrotka" (Daisy)
- Tadeusz Janczar as Jacek "Korab"
- Wieńczysław Gliński as Lt. "Zadra"
- Tadeusz Gwiazdowski as Sgt. "Kula"
- Stanisław Mikulski as "Smukły"
- Emil Karewicz as Lt. "Mądry"
- Vladek Sheybal as Michał, the composer (credited as Władysław Sheybal)
- Teresa Berezowska as Halinka
- "Festival de Cannes: Kanał". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Kanal at the Internet Movie Database
- Kanał at allmovie
- Kanal essay on the Criterion Collection website
- Kanał on filmpolski.pl database
- Andrzej Wajda on Kanał
The Mystery of Picasso
|Special Jury Prize, Cannes
tied with The Seventh Seal