Holy Week

on January 25, 1996 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Much as "Mississippi Burning" reduced African-Americans to the role of extras in their own history, "Holy Week"--based on a short story by Jerzy Andrzejewski--slights the Jewish battle to survive the 1943 destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto in favor of a tediously revisionist examination of Polish attitudes toward the Jews during that troubled time.
  The historical reality is that the Jewish inhabitants of the Ghetto were pretty much on their own when they decided to fight back against the Nazis, but writer/director Andrzej Wajda falsely balances the equation, with each "good" Pole being matched by a "bad" one. And his only major Jewish character, Irena (Beata Fundalej), who hides out at a Christian ex-boyfriend's house, is there only so the Poles can agonize about what to do as the Ghetto burns.
  Wajda doesn't even bother utilizing the inherently dramatic Warsaw setting; most of the film inexplicably takes place in the country. Dramatically slack and morally questionable, "Holy Week" fails to do justice to its important subject. Starring Beata Fundalej, Wojciech Malajkat and Magdalena Warzecha. Directed and written by Andrzej Wajda. Produced by Lew Rywin. No distributor set. Drama. Polish-language; English subtitles. Not yet rated. Running time: 100 min. Screened at the Montreal fest.
Tags: Beata Fundalej, Wojciech Malajkat, Magdalena Warzecha, Andrzej Wajda, Lew Rywin, drama
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