(aka 'Passenger')

Directed by Andrzej Munk + Witold Lesiewicz
Poland 1963

 

One of the most audacious fictions ever made about the Holocaust.

"I can think of no other movie to compare with Munk’s, in the precise and harrowing balance of romantic beauty and profound terror" – NY Times.

****

A former guard (Aleksandra Slaska) in the women's section of Auschwitz encounters a passenger on a cruise ship (Anna Ciepielewska) who was one of her prisoners. This sets off a series of flashbacks concerning those terrible days, and the struggle of wills that took place between prisoner and guard.

Munk was one of the guiding lights of the postwar school of Polish film that included Wajda and Kawalerowicz. He died in a car crash before being able to finish this, his fourth feature. His assistant put what footage there was together as a tribute to Munk. There was no attempt to complete the film, and this was probably a wise decision, since no one knew exactly where Munk planned to take the story.

What we have, then, are some extremely haunting sequences that take place in the concentration camp. Passenger captures, arguably better than any other film, a sense of horrifying blankness, a matter-of-fact degradation, which conveys something of what the experience of Auschwitz might have been like. The film is narrated by the former camp guard, which allows Munk to raise questions of guilt and responsibility in novel ways. The guard, Lisa, first tells her husband a sanitized version of events which portray her as someone who was trapped by having to obey orders, but did what she could to help the prisoner, Martha. She then narrates events a second time to herself, and this time we witness her desire for power over Martha, and for Martha to be grateful and subservient to her - a desire which is continually frustrated.

Excerpt from CineScene.com (Chris Dashiell) review located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: Poland 1963

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution Second Run - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 58:24 
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.93 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• The Last Pictures (Andrzej Brzozowski) - 46:40
• 20-page liner notes booklet with essays/bios by Ewa Mazierska and Stuart Kiawans 


DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

NOTE (in email): Gary the 1.66 ratio of the Second Run DVD is totally incorrect. This movie was shot in an anamorphic widescreen process called Dyaliscope and was always projected in 2.35 ratio. (Thanks David)

Although it appears to be from an analog source (see flat-line bitrate) and is not progressive - this image seems to have maximized its transfer potential considering the limitations. On a dual layered disc (with only about 1.5 hours of material) and a strong bitrate this measures up effectively. Damage marks are limitied - faux-grain/digital noise is minor, contrast is remarkably good and detail is acceptable. The subtitles are well done and the supplements include Brzozowski's 46 minute The Last Pictures and a nice liner notes booklet.

Second Run continues to impress with some rare and impacting titles. Most importantly this is the first ever DVD release of this unfinished masterpiece - a provocative, memorable work.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Second Run - Region 0 - PAL




 

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