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Poland, of Wajda and Kieslowski

On March 13, 1996, one of the most prominent Polish film directer Krzysztof Kieslowski died--it has been just 10 years since then. He tried to see the reality of Poland, its culture, its history through those ordinally people with ordinally lives--and made us relize with the universal reason for life and our existence. Yet, the particular history of Poland made me think of someone like Kieslowski, or Andrzej Wajda who produced those films that tell us what Poland really is.

--I've learned that "Poland" means a "flat land." In the long history of Europe, this small country has been destined to go through harsh histories, as the naturally defenseless flat land had allowed other countries to invade the land. In that sense, Poland reflects the virtuality of the concept of borders. In 19th century, this country was divided into pieces by the interference of those powering European countries Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Once again, Poland dissapeared from the map of Europe, and it existed only through an ethnic identity with an intangible cultures and language without a homeland.

In "Ashes and Diamonds," filmed by a Polish film directer Andrzej Wajda, there is a scene that Polish people dance "Military Polonaise" of Chopin on the day when Poland was freed from Nazi dominance. This is a memorable scene to reflect the suffering of Poland throughout its history and longing for the independence and freedom.

I would start from Chopin, then.
Frederic Chopin was born in a small town ?elazowa Wola, Poland in 1810. In 1830 when he was 20 years old, he left to Vienna for concert tour, but just one month after he had left, the historical "November Uprise" against the dominance of Russia in Warsaw. It failed to succeed and the opportunity to achieve independence was lost completely. It is famous that Chopin seeded to compose "Revolution Etude" (Etude No.12 in c minor, Op.10) after hearing this tragic news. He could no longer be able to return to his home country, and he never did until his death at 39--his sorrow and loneliness is strongly reflected in his life and music.

Poland was freed to be independent again by the defeat of Germany in World War I and Russian Revolution, but it was once again invaded by Germany and Soviet Union after the beginning of Word War II. Under the Nazi control, Polish government exiled to London, and the Polish culture was suppressed and destroyed. Of course, the symbol of Polish culture, Polonaise--a nobility dance--was not allowed to be played and danced.

Nazi and Soviet executed to erase their ethic identity, too, with Holocaust, Auschwitz, Majdanek, (Poland was a country with multiple ethnic races at that time--people were forced to eliminate each other race during the war--even harsher to kill your neighbor) and Zbrodnia katy?ska (4000 Polish army officers were found dead at katy?ska, Russia in 1943--it was unclear whether that was executed by Nazi or Soviet Union, but after the Cold War, the investigation found it was done by Soviet with more than 25,000 executions without trials, and more incidents similar to this were found--over 50,000 polish army captives were shot to death) The Warsaw uprise at the end of the war in August, 1944 lasted 63 days with the loss of 200,000 lives. (filmed by Wajda as "Kanal") The population of Warsaw was decreased to 150,000 from 1,500,000 before the war.


To be honest, it is too overwhelming to really imagine the severity and harshness of such history beyond my ability to imagine. What I can do is to make myself aware of the various emotions film at the scene of the Polonaise dance. Yet, the power of a culture accumulated till this moment---here it is the music of Chopin, Polonaise dance, and this media of film and movie--is bold and strong to be shared by all of us human beings. People in the scene danced the noble and graceful Polonaise that symbolized the pride of their identity and culture, with the lost souls of resistance against the absurdity.
It tells us that "Poland" was the invisible tie of shared culture and people, and although it kept going through the tough time under the influence of Soviet Union, Poland gradually united tighter and stronger, as described by the activities of Mi?dzyzak?adowy Komitet Strajkowy, the Strike Coordination Committee.

Kieslowski and Wajda continued to capture the reality of Poland under communism frame. The film by Kieslowski that I introduced earlier, "A short film about killing," describes that a mind of a youth is distorted by a society, and the society eliminates the distortion in the name of justice.

However, what they really and always wanted to show is the meaning of the existence of ourselves, and the meaning of our relationship, the connection to the world and people. The invisible tie among us reappears with a coincidence and consequence of an encounter, which becomes the reason for our existence. (In Chinese character, the words "human beings" are written in two characters, "man" and "between") That is the foundation of a culture, a nation, an ideology, an identity---and the various stories of each of us. Poland was their field and background of their own stories, and they kept capturing those through their films.

I wanted to write more about Kieslowski, but I will continue in next entry. I want to mention other past entries, especially the one I wrote about an architect, Daniel Libeskind.
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。