Katyn Horrific, Excellent

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2009 11:15 AM CST

(Newser) – American art houses are finally getting a taste of Katyn, legendary Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s acclaimed film about the World War II-era massacre of the same name, and critics are heaping yet more acclaim on it. AO Scott of the New York Times calls it “solemn and searing,” while Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer says Wajda “has made a heroic effort to translate a historical crime into a saga of human hope and delusion.”

The film’s treatment of the massacre, in which the Soviets killed 15,000 Polish officers in Katyn forest, then blamed it on the Nazis, “puts just about every other horror movie to shame,” says Sarris. Wajda's father was among those killed, yet J. Hoberman of the Village Voice finds the film strangely impersonal: “It's as if the artist is never certain whether he is making this movie for himself, his father, or the entire nation.”