Lotna | Chicago Reader


Set during the Nazi invasion of Poland, this 1959 film by Andrzej Wajda turns a story of cavalry officers infatuated with a handsome Arabian mare into a eulogy for a pastoral lifestyle that would soon be destroyed by modern warfare. After moving into a village, a squadron inherits the horse from a local landowner, but as each of its successive owners dies in battle, the men decide that the horse brings bad luck. To Wajda it symbolizes a ruling order that's as obsolete as cavalrymen fighting tanks and planes, and though he belabors the point (not to mention the men's love of and jealousy over the horse), the film is worth seeing for its gorgeous evocation of men in battle and its detailed, endearing portrait of villagers clinging to their way of life. 89 min.

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