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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » February 18, 2009
Katyń
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Released in U.S.
February 18, 2009   
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Polish director Andrzej Wajda's film, Katyń (2007) will be given its U.S. premiere at New York's Film Forum movie house Feb. 18, before it moves on to Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Pittsburgh. Katyń is being distributed by Koch Lorber Films in the U.S. The film has already been seen by over 2.7 million people in Poland.

Katyń is based on the mass execution of Polish army officers by the fearsome Soviet secret police, the NKVD, in 1940. The atrocity takes its name from a forest near Smolensk, about 360 km southwest of Moscow, where the invading German army found the first mass graves in 1943, although the victims were killed at several locations across the Soviet Union. The atrocity was a personal tragedy for Wajda as his father was among those slain. The family had to come to terms with the horrible truth in 1943 and then live under a political system that suppressed any reference to the massacre to appease their overlords in Moscow.

Katyń was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for 2007 at the 80th Academy Awards. U.S. audiences have so far had very little exposure. Katyń was given a closed viewing at the Director's Guild of America in New York during March last year and another at the Lincoln Center in New York in fall, organized by the Polish Cultural Institute.

Film critic Terrence Rafferty wrote in the New York Times Oct. 10, 2008, "This movie, about a massacre of thousands of Polish prisoners of war (his [Wajda's] own father among them), is sober, restrained, close to classical. His outrage both at the atrocity itself and at the lies its perpetrators told about it-the Soviets did it, then blamed the Germans and silenced anyone who dared to say otherwise-is muted and mournful. It's a very quiet, saddened sort of truth telling Mr. Wajda does in this remarkable picture, as if, after all those years of watching people in mortal turmoil, he had found at last his true tone, one of simple, profound regret. In the end the fog does lift, and you're alone with what you see."

Film Forum is an autonomous non-profit cinema in New York City. It is the city's leading movie house for independent American films and artistic foreign films on social, political, historical and cultural subjects.

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