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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Warsaw '44 aka "Miasto 44" [Blu-ray]

 

(Jan Komasa, 2014)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Akson Studio

Video: Kino Świat

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:06:46.208

Disc Size: 45,484,083,144 bytes

Feature Size: 34,005,612,096 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.92 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Polish 3550 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3550 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Polish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio Polish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, Polish none

 

Extras:

• Making Of... (20:41)

Other extras without English subtitles - (21:12) (12:51)

The cover, booklet and extras are in all Polish only (unknown)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: One of the biggest Polish production in recent years, watched by over 1.7 million cinema goers! Director Jan Komasa realized Miasto 44 with a flourish - a universal story about love, courage and sacrifice set during the Warsaw Uprising. Stefan (Jozef Pawlowski) and Ladybug (Sophia Wichłacz) meet and fall in love at first sight. But it is not given to them long to enjoy your relationship. August 1st, 1944, along with friends placed under the command of a charismatic Cobra (Tomasz Schuchardt). Stefan and Ladybug are brave and believe in the cause, as they journey past bloody trails of fire, and the face of horror and cruelty of war, in an apocalyptic setting their burning city. Miasto 44 is not a film about politics. It is a film about love, youth and courage. Miasto 44 has been honored with awards at the 39th Film Festival in Gdynia in the following categories: Best Leading Actress, Best Special Effects and Best Sound. Audio for the deaf has prepared Foundation for Culture Without Barriers.

 

 

The Film:

Miasto 44 tells the story of young Poles destined to enter adulthood in the cruel days of German occupation. Despite the war raging around them, they are full of life, passionate and impatient, living as though each day was their last.

The main protagonist, Stefan (played by Józef Pawłowski) looks after his mother and younger brother after his father, a Polish Army officer, died during the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. Stefan works in the Wedel chocolate factory and finds it increasingly difficult to bear the humiliation he suffers at the hands of the Nazis at every turn. When the opportunity presents itself, he joins the underground Polish Home Army, encouraged by Kama (Anna Próchniak), a childhood friend and next-door neighbor. Kama is secretly in love with Stefan. But it is a subtle and sensitive girl named Biedronka (played by Zofia Wichłacz) who becomes Stefan’s first love. But then the Warsaw Uprising breaks out.

The uprising was staged by the underground Polish Home Army in an attempt to drive German forces out of Warsaw before the approaching Red Army entered the city. During the fighting, which lasted for 63 days, about 16,000 Polish soldiers were killed or went missing, 20,000 were wounded and 15,000 were taken prisoner. As a result of air raids and artillery shelling as well as harsh living conditions and massacres staged by German troops, anywhere between 150,000 and 200,000 civilians died.

Although it takes place in a city during a war, Miasto 44 tells the story of people, not of armies or barricades. The filmmakers say the movie is not intended as an argument in the ongoing debate in Poland about whether or not the decision to stage the uprising was the right one. “The film aims to convey emotion and not weigh up arguments or reveal the secret workings of decisions made 70 years ago,” the filmmakers say. “That’s the job of historians… Miasto 44 is not a film about politics. It is a movie about love, youth and battle.”

Excerpt from The Warsaw Voice located HERE

Despite not being a masterpiece, the film is worth spending two hours to watch it. You may be captivated by it or not, but it does a great job of giving testimony of one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in the history of mankind without resorting to disproportionate martyrdom. And finally, although during the last thirty minutes the depiction of carnage is grisly, the last scene, with special effects falling into place, makes up for all previous flaws of the film and renders without a glitch how the last days of the Warsaw Uprising looked like. As my grandparents confirm, the glow of burning capital was visible in late September 1944 even thirty kilometres away from the blaze.

Excerpt from Student-SGH Blog located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Warsaw '44 appears to have been shot in HD and I was fortunate enough to see it on English-friendly Blu-ray out of the UK. Transferred to a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate, it looks as good as you might anticipate. There is no gloss and close-ups export some tight detail. Frequent depth is visible in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The 1080P transfer is competent and triumphantly supports Marian Prokop's cinematography, the special effects and the extensive art direction. This Blu-ray produces a memorable video with abundant hypnotic eye-candy sequences. Visually this gets high marks.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio compliments to the video extremely well - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a resounding 3550 kbps, in the original Polish language. War explosions - bombing, shelling, guns, mortars - are intense and export some impressive depth. The score is by Antoni Lazarkiewicz (Burning Bush) and adds such a wonderful flavor to the occasional slow-motion elements. It really does work well with the onscreen action, be it gentle, meaningful eye contact, or bombastic battle-related aggression. There is a descriptive audio option (Polish Dolby.) There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

There are plenty of extras, and I didn't investigate as thoroughly as I should as they, for the most part, didn't appears to be English-friendly. There is a lot with the director - which I like to see, but most of the supplements seems to be only in Polish (with a few exceptions).

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What an amazingly visual work! - Warsaw '44 is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in years! It reminded me of a Polish "The English Patient" - an epic love story set to the background of impacting, and often disparaging, War-related circumstance with striking scenes. It's a view of young lovers perception of the occupation surrounding them. And I am so appreciative of the Blu-ray. I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing and this was, also, because of the 1080P presentation - superb cinematography, memorable audio, and a touching film experience. Yes, there is violence and some gore - de-romanticizing the period - but we can easily recommend this to fans of this genre. If you like Polish cinema, or films about WW2 - don't miss Warsaw '44

Gary Tooze

July 18th, 2015


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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