Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Last Stage (1948)

Original title: Ostatni Etap

Director: Wanda Jakubowska

Writers: Wanda Jakubowska, Gerda Schneider

Composer: Roman Palester

Starring: Tatjana Gorecka, Antonina Gordon-Gorecka, Barbara Drapinska, Aleksandra Slaska, Barbara Rachwalska, Wladyslaw Brochwicz, Edward Dziewonski, Kazimierz Pawlowski, Alina Janowska

More info: IMDb

Tagline: SHOCKING!

Plot: Female prisoners of various ethnic background struggle to survive the hardships of Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

This is a remarkable film for the least of which because it was made by survivors of Auschwitz, both behind and in front of the camera and within three years of being liberated.  Knowing that brought me closer to the characters and the story in a way that a modern film cannot.  After the film I thought about how it must've felt to come back to a place where you essentially escaped death on a daily basis at one of the most horrifying places on Earth.  How did they feel?  If you were in that situation would you become complacent after a while or would you continually feel threatened?  How long would it take before you left that basic fear of death behind, knowing that is was still there but also wanting and needing to continue living and look for some sort of happiness or good around you?  These are some of the things I thought about in the days after seeing this picture.  It's a good film in its own right.  You can see that Jakubowska had a lot to say and she does a fine job at giving us a sense of the day to day life in the camp as well as the danger and all in just under two hours.  Even though I wanted to see more and spend more time through her lens, I'm happy this film exists.  The authenticity of being where it all happened speaks volumes.  I think this picture will probably improve with each viewing.

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