Polish/Ukrainian Film Recommendations
July 19, 2006 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I'd like recommendations for Polish or Ukrainian historical documentaries or fact-based films.

My family from my mother's side is Ukrainian and Polish, and I'd like to learn more about the turbulent social/political/economical past of these two countries - any time period. I'm doing the genealogy for these families and I'm hoping your recommended films give me a fuller understanding of the lives they lived.

Many thanks.
posted by rinkjustice to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dekalog, is more of a set of 10 mini films than a single movie, they are all set in one town in Poland and they are fantastic.

Although not explicitly social/political they give an impression of what it was like in poland in the 80's
posted by cgfoz at 3:15 AM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: Film:Korczak
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Year: 1990

This is an excellent film:

I had to watch this film for a class I took in undergrad on The "Camps" Through Russian and Polish Memoir and Film.

The class was one of the more thought-provoking classes I took my whole undergrad career.

Wonderful, yet disturbing film. I had wondered after watching it if the film Hotel Rwanda wasn't a not so subtle rip off of Korczak.
posted by Unregistered User at 4:30 AM on July 20, 2006

p.s. The review on that page is teh suck. It is a moving and intense film. here is a much better link., I should have previewed the last one before posting it. As that was the first one that came up in google. I guess, I just assumed that since it was very well thought of by myself and classmates at the time, that everyone would like it.
posted by Unregistered User at 4:38 AM on July 20, 2006

Have a look here, which is the online store for the Polish Film Festival in Chicago. Lots of good stuff there. Dramatizations such as Ogniem i Mieczem will help you figure out Poland's messy history.

Also, see if you can find any of these Propaganda PRL-u: najzabawniejsze Polskie Kroniki Filmowe DVDs in the right zone for where you live. Authentic Polish propaganda films from the 1940s-1960s.

And try searching for torrents (polska, polski, polskie). This is generally music, not a film, but entertaining and informative. For example: Polish hits of the 1980s. Also, 20 Polish Reggae And Dancehall Tunes 2006!
posted by pracowity at 6:34 AM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: This isn't a film or documentary, but I like the InfoPoland website for Polish background and history. It's a joint venture between the University of Buffalo and Jagiellonian University in Krakow. "Poland in the Classroom" has a lot of good background information.

The Polish national anthem is a good place to start. The first verse was written by a soldier in the aftermath of the Partition of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795 and tells of the epic struggles to restore the nation's independence. With my Polish heritage, the first lines,

Poland is not yet lost
while we live

sends shivers up my spine.

And interesting tidbit: Poles and Ukranians are ethnically and culturally very similar, but the one point of departure is that Poles are typically Roman Catholic while Ukrainians are generally Orthodox Christians.
posted by Doohickie at 10:31 AM on July 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks again to everyone.
posted by rinkjustice at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2006

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