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THE PROMISED LAND

Director: ANDRZEJ WAJDA

179 minutes| Poland| 1974| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm


Poland’s most celebrated director, Andrzej Wajda based this extravagant 1975 epic on the 1897 novel by Nobel laureate Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont. It’s set in the industrial city of Lódz at the end of the 19th century, where ethnic differences took a back seat to capitalist ambitions. In the midst of an industrial revolution of unprecedented proportions, three men – a Pole, a Jew and a German – start a new textile factory together. The enterprise is fraught with difficulties and soon the three very different entrepreneurs come to blows and have to make Faustian deals in order to survive.

Employing a richly-textured visual style bordering on the baroque, Wajda tells this Dickensian tale of human greed, exploitation and betrayal with a combination of cynicism and sorrow. In part another of the director’s studies of human cruelty and debasement, the film is also something of a lament for the passing of a multicultural Poland that existed before the Nazis and before the Communists.

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