Warsaw ’44 (Miasto 44; literally “city 44”) is a Polish drama from 2014 about the Warsaw Uprising during World War II. The Warsaw Uprising was an effort by the Polish resistance to take back the city from the Nazis. The leaders had hoped that the Soviets would arrive in the city during the uprising, but the Soviets did not end up making it all the way to Warsaw, leaving the Nazis to brutally quash the resistance and destroy the city. It was sometimes marketed in English under the title Insurrection.
The film was released on the 70th anniversary of the uprising. It tells the story of Stefan, a fighter in the underground army, who is in love with two women, a nurse named Ala and another fighter named Kama. The women’s fate echoes that of the uprising and the city as a whole.
The film was notable not only for its subject matter—before this, the last film to take on the subject of the Warsaw Uprising was Channel (Kanał) in 1957—but also for the director Jan Komasa’s decision to cast relatively unknown actors in the film. The star, Józef Pawłowski, had only been in three feature films before this one (though his dubbing career was extensive). The director has also said that the goal of the film was to make the uprising more widely known to the world.
The film did relatively well overall, winning four Eagles (though none for acting or directing) and several Golden Lions at the Polish Film Festival. However, it only got average reviews from audiences.
Director: Jan Komasa
Stars: Józef Pawłowski, Zofia Wichłacz, Anna Próchniak, Maurycy Popiel, Antoni Królikowski
Production company: Michał Kwieciński, Akson Studio