Eroica

85 minutes 1958

Andrzej Munk must have struck a nerve in his native Poland when he made this 1958 black comedy on the subject of heroism, setting both its chapters during the Nazi occupation. The first involves a confirmed coward who gets caught up in the resistance movement during the Warsaw uprising; the second, and by far the funnier of the two, takes place in a prisoner-of-war camp whose inmates sing the praises of a comrade who escaped, unaware that he's been hiding from them all this time because he was so annoyed by their patriotic chest-thumping. Munk directed several highly regarded films before dying in a car crash in 1961; this one proves him to be an unusually caustic observer of his countrymen's collective emotional hangups. In Polish with subtitles.

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