When the Sun Was God | Chicago Reader

When the Sun Was God

Jerzy Hoffman's historical epic With Fire and Sword opened the 1999Polish Film Festival in America and has been revived in subsequent years; his new feature is a splotchy, indifferently made, but perversely entertaining adaptation of Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski's novel Stara Basn. Set during the ninth century, it involves a delusional prince (Bogdan Stupka) whose nefarious scheming unleashes a peasant rebellion. Michal Zebrowski is the proud warrior aesthete who leads the uprising while covertly pursuing beautiful Marina Aleksandrowa. Hoffman has no shame or subtlety, but he packs the frame with violent action and sensuality (though the relentless misogyny is hard to take). 107 min.

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