Monday, November 16, 2015

Karbala [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)

IMDb listing listing* listing*

DziennikLodzki (D. Pawłowski) review* (S. Płatek) review* (C. Łakomy) review* review* (J. Szczerba) review*

Karbala [2015] [IMDb] []* (written and co-directed by Krzysztof Łukaszewicz [IMDb] []*[]* along with Justyna Kapuścińska [IMDb] []* and Marcin Łomnicki [IMDb] []* accompanied by the recent memoirs Karbala [GR]* by Piotr Głuchowski [GR]* / Marcin Górka [GR]* and Karbala: Raport z Obrony City Hall [GR] by Grzegorz Kaliciak [GR]) is probably the most compelling film that played at the recent 2015 (27th annual) Polish Film Festival in America here in Chicago that I WAS UNABLE TO SEE.  Both screenings of the film rapidly sold-out and an added third screening proved to fall on an evening that I could not attend (sigh ... but that's life, one can't see _everything_ ;-).  Perhaps I'll see it sometime in the coming months  as the more popular films from the festival often replay during the year.  However, since the subject matter of the film is quite compelling (and one that most Readers here would probably not know about), I thought to write about the film here anyway.

My all accounts a Polish "Hollywood-esque" recent "war film," it's about a small detachment of about 80 Polish-Bulgarian soldiers assigned by the US/Coalition Forces after the 2003 Iraq War to the Shiite holy city of Karbala.  In April, 2004, this Polish-Bulgarian detachment successfully fended-off a three day attack / siege of Karbala's city hall* by some 5,000 Sadr's Mahdi Army militia fighters without losing a single anyone of its own.  Officially assigned to the city to "help train" its police officers, the actual circumstances of the battle that the soldiers of this detachment found themselves fighting was kept under wraps on official order of secrecy for ten years.  Only after the publication of the above mentioned memoirs has the story of this battle, the largest that Poland's army has participated in since World War II, become progressively known.

From technical and story-points of view, the film hasn't received universal acclaim from the Polish critics given above (as war films often suffer from a lack of development of characters, etc) but the consensus opinion is that the film was of a reasonably high quality "Not Riddley Scott's Black Hawk Down [2001], but then its budget was also not comparable," summarized one of the reviewers, "but certainly not to be ashamed of either.... and the tattered flag flying still over city hall at the end of the film was a Polish one, not an American one.  Something to be proud of."  Something to be proud of, indeed ;-).

Anyway, sounds like a very interesting film.

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser.

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