Ostatni etap

1948 [POLISH]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

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975.41 MB
Polish 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 4 / 12
1.77 GB
Polish 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 7 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by chrissso8 / 10

Historic "Propaganda" Film!

Propaganda??? Think about it … who was calling the shots in Poland in 1947? And which country of all WW2 principals was portrayed in the most positive light in this film? The fact is that this script had to be approved by the Russians and had it been critical of them in any way it would have never seen the light of the projector. Pretty convenient, considering the hundreds of thousands of Polish women that were raped by the Red Army or the way Stalin let Germany level Warsaw!

Propaganda aside, this is a remarkable and historic film! First off it was released just 2 years after the end of the war. Secondly it was the first film … in the world … to address the atrocities of the Holocaust head on! Yes 1946's "The Stranger" did give it a nod but this film went full frontal atrocity! Thirdly, this was the first film to be shot within Auschwitz/Birkenau. Finally the film was directed by Wanada Jakubowska who was in fact interned at A/B and the script depicts her experiences. Suffice to say this is a very genuine film … almost to the point of being a docu-drama.

The one big problem with this classic is that totally suffers from 1947 Western European technology … especially the camera and film … which coupled with the Neo-realistic direction makes the shots overly dark and difficult to perceive. Additionally I found the story arc a little hard to follow at times (that may have been a cultural thing?).

In the end this 1947 Polish film started Cinema's discussion about A/B … the icon of the holocaust … and that is a fact that does not get it's proper!

8/10 with a big bonus for historical significance

Reviewed by Lichtmesz237 / 10

Neorealism at Auschwitz

Though rarely shown and hardly available this is one of the most remarkable films about the concentration camp of Auschwitz ever made. Shot as early as 1947, partly on location at the camp, even featuring former inmates among the actors, and using original languages, OSTATNI ETAP is a kind of first-hand re-enactment and gives for the most part a very convincing, gripping and realistic portrait of what life was like at the camp. The film is well directed and staged,occasionally using dramatic compositions and lightning to a striking effect. It is actually no less impressive as any then-contemporary film by Roberto Rossellini and other of the "neo-realist" school. The whole now-familiar iconography of Holocaust cinema is already there, probably for the first time, copied in hundreds of movies to come. Andrzej Munk's more stylized PASAZERKA is clearly influenced by the OSTATNI ETAP as both films are set in a woman's camp and feature sadistic female SS-guards.

However, due to historical circumstances there are many aspects in the film which have later been more or less dropped or at least received lesser attention. The role of women as both victims and perpetrators is at the center of the film, and large space is given to show the cruelty of Kapos, block elders (women with a black triangle, implicating "Anti-socials" and criminals) and SS-collaborating and egoistic inmates as well. The concept of primary Jewish suffering at Auschwitz now at the core of the narrative is de-emphasized, and the Jews are presented as just one of many peoples (f.e. Russians and French are shown) interned and murdered there. There is a more explicit focus on communists and Poles being victimized, as well as a clear sympathy for Stalin and the Red Army, which also shows in the rather unconvincing melodramatic final scene, when the heroine, facing execution, holds an accusing speech against their henchmen while soviet planes appear in the sky like in a last-minute-rescue. A final title claims the highly exaggerated number of 4.5 Mio victims at Auschwitz, a number that was corrected only decades later, in 1990.

The portrayal of the SS is effective but pretty cliché-ridden, and the stereotypes presented here have become stock ingredients of the genre - such as fat, ugly, stupid and vain Nazis with scars on their faces and Iron Crosses on their fancy uniforms, cynically dancing waltzes and drinking champagne in their "free" time, stiff cigarette-smoking-"we-have-ways-to-make-you-talk"-torture-officers, and Ilse-Koch-like SS women.

Overall OSTATNI ETAP is both an exceptionable document and a well-made film, which beats SCHINDLER'S LIST by far. It is a pity that this film has become so obscure.

Reviewed by brzostek10 / 10

The Last Stage captures the feeling of what it was like at Auschwitz

The Last Stage (Ostatni Etap) is about the women who were interned at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp. Although men were also imprisoned there, this story is mostly about the women. People from all over Europe (including France, Hungry, Poland and Russia) were caged and killed at this camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Some were imprisoned for political reasons and others for simply being a Pole or a Jew. The story is based on the actual experiences of the director (Wanda Jakubowska) and was shot on location just three years after the war, which gives it a feeling of practically being a recreation of the atrocity.

Although we get to know a group of women, one that stands out is Martha Weiss. She is a young Jewish woman that is spared the same fate as her family because she ends up working for the Germans as an interpreter. Those who have a skill useful to the Nazis are spared leaving the camp though the smoke of the chimney. Martha and her friends make the best of their grim situation and are courageous in their acts of defiance.

With their survival threatened, not all of the prisoners are quite so noble. Some of the prisoners work as assistants for the guards to help them do their dirty work. In return, they get a few extra comforts and their own deaths are delayed.

The Last Stage captures the feeling of what it was like at Auschwitz, which is at times surreal with an orchestra of prisoners playing classical music out in the open air while the other prisoners are abused and degraded by their captors.

Ostatni Etap is a classic Polish movie; in Poland, it is in the top 20 of all time box office hits of Polish cinema. The Last Stage depicts a disturbing part of history, but it is better to know what really happened during World War II than it is to pretend it never did, which is why I would recommend everyone to watch this movie.

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