Landscape After Battle

The landscape here is social, and there's plenty of scorched earth. Directed by Andrjez Wajda (Ashes and Diamonds, Man of Iron), this 1970 Polish drama opens to strains of Vivaldi as Catholic prisoners liberate themselves from a Nazi concentration camp, burning their striped pajamas and trying to bury one of their former guards. Unfortunately, the Allies haven't figured out what to do with the prisoners, and they wind up in a displaced persons camp that quickly descends into cruel and amoral behavior. The movie is based on stories by Tadeusz Borowski, a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau who later committed suicide, and its hero (Daniel Olbrychski) is a stand-in for the author, a bespectacled young poet who finds that none of life's usual solaces—sex, religion, learning—amounts to anything but a freakish abstraction. In Polish with subtitles. 110 min.

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