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Korczak [Blu-ray]

Wojciech Pszoniak , Ewa Dalkowska , Andrzej Wajda    Unrated   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 39.95
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A mirror image to the Pianist Nov. 6 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Possible spoiler herein...
Better than the Pianist? Tough call, but yes in many ways. Polanski is definitely better cinematically, but Wayda, from Holland's script, renders human relations more finely. Probably its biggest weakness is the choppiness between plot lines. For me, the Poles definitely lead the way on cinematic treatment of the Holocaust.
Szpilman was aloof, and Korczak fully engaged, and their trajectories diverge. Korczak was a world renowned orphanage director and pediatrician, whose radio show was massively popular among all Poles before the War. This meant he was given every chance to escape safely, and walk away from his hundreds of Jewish orphans in the Jewish ghetto; but, instead, his absolute devotion to giving his orphans some semblance of childhood drove him to "deal with the devil himself." On the other hand he knows that the children will have to deal with death at an early age, and he is committed to giving them appropriate comfort and emotional tools. Perhaps the most humane treatment death and childhood in film. It also points to the conflict in impossible situations between those remain dignified and steadfast to humane ideals and those who resist with violence.
The film could be pedantic, but Wojciech Pszoniak (Korczach) is a toned-down, serious version of Robin Williams (close to Oliver Sacks in Awakenings). This gives a much more honest (and probably more loving) approach to helping children to face hardship than "Life is Beautiful."
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I love Korczak, I love the person. I have read some of his works, and I wonder how he understood the child so well. he never had a child of his own but he was the 'mother of 200 children'......
the movie will show you the kind of man Korczak was.....
the story is amazing, and true.
I am so glad this movie was made \
a masterpiece!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great and Loveable Teacher Korczak Jan. 26 2003
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Every movie Andrzej Wajda made is unique and memorable and many of them are masterpieces. This film made in 1990 is one of my favorites. If you've seen Polanski's THE PIANIST this is an excellent film to see if you want to learn more about what life was like in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Before war breaks out Korczak has already achieved much notoriety. His voice is heard by millions on his radio show and he is recognized in the street by both Poles and Germans alike as a progressive minded humanitarian. He is also a doctor who runs an orphanage for Jewish children and in the opening scenes we hear him on his radio program as he tells just how much his childen mean to him. As soon as the political climate within Poland changes however the doctors program is cancelled and before long the doctor along with his 200 children are marched toward the Warsaw Ghetto. At first the doctor believes the war will be a short one and he confronts the Germans and shames them for their mistreatment of the Jewish Poles. But as events unfold the doctors optimism becomes dimmer and dimmer. It does not take long for people to start dying in the ghetto of starvation and sickness and the doctor soon comes to realize that is very unlikely that either he or the children will survive the war. Death is everywhere around them and the doctor sees all that he can do is try and make this constant contact with death less fearful and so writes plays for the children in which death is experienced as a peaceful thing. These are hard scenes to watch and as moving as anything you will see on film but there is also a beauty to them as they show just how profoundly the doctor feels the childrens suffering. The doctor believes in not just feeding the childrens and caring for them when they are sick but also he believes in making good people out of them and despite the dire circumstances he never ceases acting with the childrens interests in mind, their interests always come before his own. They all admire him and look to him as a beacon of hope. And the doctor does not fail his children. The last scenes of the children walking proudly hand in hand with their Korczak are moving and uplifting even though we know what fate awaits them. The ending of this film has a lyric beauty that I will not give away but I could not give it away even if I wanted to as it really trancends any description of it--you just have to experience it. We feel what the children feel for their beloved Korczak and in a way we all--the best part of ourselves-- marches with them.

The very highest recommendation.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Movie Dec 8 1999
By Edward Sunder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this movie with a friend in the summer of 1992 at an art theater in St. Louis and went back the next and final night to see it again. It was a gripping, beautiful portrayal of a fantastic story. I have never forgotten this film and was thrilled to find it listed here on Amazon. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mirror image to the Pianist Nov. 6 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Possible spoiler herein...
Better than the Pianist? Tough call, but yes in many ways. Polanski is definitely better cinematically, but Wayda, from Holland's script, renders human relations more finely. Probably its biggest weakness is the choppiness between plot lines. For me, the Poles definitely lead the way on cinematic treatment of the Holocaust.
Szpilman was aloof, and Korczak fully engaged, and their trajectories diverge. Korczak was a world renowned orphanage director and pediatrician, whose radio show was massively popular among all Poles before the War. This meant he was given every chance to escape safely, and walk away from his hundreds of Jewish orphans in the Jewish ghetto; but, instead, his absolute devotion to giving his orphans some semblance of childhood drove him to "deal with the devil himself." On the other hand he knows that the children will have to deal with death at an early age, and he is committed to giving them appropriate comfort and emotional tools. Perhaps the most humane treatment death and childhood in film. It also points to the conflict in impossible situations between those remain dignified and steadfast to humane ideals and those who resist with violence.
The film could be pedantic, but Wojciech Pszoniak (Korczach) is a toned-down, serious version of Robin Williams (close to Oliver Sacks in Awakenings). This gives a much more honest (and probably more loving) approach to helping children to face hardship than "Life is Beautiful."
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Korczak, my hero, the reason why children are understood. Oct. 19 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I love Korczak, I love the person. I have read some of his works, and I wonder how he understood the child so well. he never had a child of his own but he was the 'mother of 200 children'......
the movie will show you the kind of man Korczak was.....
the story is amazing, and true.
I am so glad this movie was made \
a masterpiece!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial Film by a Master April 12 2005
By Eileen Corder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
When I first saw and fell in love with Wajda's film, Korczak, I didn't know it had once been the center of controversy. Although given a standing ovation at Cannes during the festival in 1990, it was nevertheless branded as anti-Semitic by "Le Monde" the next day. Was Wajda stepping over the line between Jew and non-Jew? Why were Polish Catholics so obviously absent from the film? Why didn't Korczak fight back? Major distributors refused to circulate the film outside Poland.

I won't go over the story of the film, a slice from the real life of Dr. Korczak, a Jew who was staunchly Polish and who, above all else, fought for children's rights whatever religion. I will say that the Christian symbols were profoundly moving, likewise, the doctor's relentless affirmation of life and of spiritual life: the halo which appears momentarily above the head of a boy who finally breaks down crying and tells the doctor of his encounter with his mother's corpse on the street; the daily weighing in of children and other routines which he uses to keep the children focused on their health; the play performed in the ghetto orphanage by the children which portrays death as a natural event that comes with life; the eye contact and body language between Korczak and a rifle-wielding Nazi guard as the doctor dares water a small potted plant in his presence.

Wajda's great talent for working with actors, Holland's brilliant script, the disturbing black and white cinematography by Robby Muller (cameraman for Wim Wenders) cut with documentary footage taken by the Nazi's, and Pszoniak's dignified performance as Dr. Korczak make this film truly magnificent.

The ideas explored in this film are touchy. Can Wajda, a non-Jew, speak for Jewish people killed in the Holocaust? Could non-violence have been an effective weapon against Hitler and the Nazi's as Ghandi proposed? Ultimately, you will have to answer those questions for yourself. I highly recommend this and all of Andreij Wajda's films.
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