Korczak: a review

It is very difficult to critique a sympathetic movie that is so engrossed in its story that it leaves little or no scope for feeling anything else. Not because there is nothing to criticize about the film, but mostly everyone would have liked the film so very much! And Korczak, by Andrej Wajda, is one such film. Viewed at the Cinephilia and Beyond series organized by Instituto Cervantes New Delhi, personal expectations were high, bordering glamorous. All coming to naught.
The film follows the story of a Polish father figure (equalled to Gandhi by Michal Malinowski) who went to his death in the gas chambers of Treblinka, accompanying the 200 orphans under his doting charge. The politics of this era have been over exploited in cinema and there is hardly any perspective or reference left unexplored, but that is not a deterrent to artists who get inspired and re-inspired in this post modern age to come up with something novel (Life is Beautiful being a case in point). Wajda has somehow failed to recreate the effect that his riveting and overwhelming Kanal did many years back. The detailing is immaculate and almost Hollywood-esque and the acting emotionally appealing. But the filmmaking leaves nothing much to the viewer’s imagination and is routine to say the least. The final sequence of the train bogey carrying the kids (destined to their deaths) getting unhinged from the rest of the chaos is simplistic and even naively romantic to an extent.
There needs to be a sense of optimism about tragedies but that does not mean it should take away from the truth, however dark and disturbing it may be.

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