Katyn (DVD Review)2 Aug, 2009 By: Isabella Hecht
Box Office $0.1 million, $26.98 DVD
In Polish with English subtitles.
Stars Artur Amijewski, Maja Ostaszewska.
Katyn is one of those films we all know should be seen but is hard to watch. The film, nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best foreign-language film, centers on the Katyn Massacre of World War II, in which thousands of Polish POW officers were slaughtered in Katyn forest.
Instead of telling the linear tale of the officers being captured, imprisoned and murdered, the film instead focuses on the lives of several of the women left behind. The audience finds out what happened to the men only as their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters do. This is an ideal format for the story being told, especially for an audience that is not Polish and may be unfamiliar with the Katyn forest massacre. Together with the women, we go through the separation, and then the agonizing wait for any news.
The murky nature of the true occurrence is mirrored in the format of the storytelling. Even after the war is over, the women live in a mixture of hope and doubt, while the Germans and the Russians both try to blame each other and cover up the details. The women know many people were murdered, but they do not know how many, who did it, what really happened and, most importantly, who is going to come home.
The film is somber, intense and difficult to watch but important to see.