“An open, festering wound in the history of Poland,” is how veteran director Andrezj Wajda describes the 1940 Katyn Forest massacre of some 15,000 Polish army officers by Stalin’s secret police.
The Russians slapped the blame on German forces, only admitting responsibility some five decades later. Rather than centre on a lone protagonist, Wajda explores the impact of this national tragedy on various women whose loved ones never returned.
With its mournful score, muted cinematography and restrained performances, this is a work of sober commemoration, though the climactic depiction of the mass killing is justifiably harrowing.
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