|Richard J. Brzostek - 03/03/2010
Five from Barska Street (Piatka z Ulicy Barskiej) is a story about post-war Poland set in 1947. It begins with five young guys going to court and being put on probation for robbery, but they are really involved with much more. They belong to a partisan group that is against the Russian occupation of Poland. They are torn between being loyal to pre-war Poland and moving on in the new government. Their probation officer helps them get jobs and turn their lives around. The underlining metaphor in this film is the people are rebuilding their lives just like the country is rebuilding from the war.
Aleksandra Slaska plays the roll of Hanka, the young woman one of the guys falls for. Her character is the most memorable for me and her acting is outstanding. She also is in a number of excellent movies such as Ostatni etap (1948), Petla (1958), Pasazerka (1963), and even the TV series Krolowa Bona (1981). Her acting is intense and seeing her in these films has made me a fan in her work. I wouldn't be surprised the more one sees of her work, the more one likes her artistic ability.
One of the assistant directors of Five from Barska Street is Andrzej Wajda. A year later Wajda released his first feature film, Pokolenie (1955). Of course, Andrzej Wajda is one of the most known Polish directors and has outshined Aleksander Ford's work.
Aleksander Ford is best known for Krzyzacy (1960), which is an icon in Polish cinema. Ford was a veteran member of the communist party and his political views are reflected in Five from Barska Street in the form of sympathy to communists and their philosophy. Of course, those who oppose communists are portrayed as the bad guys. No doubt, Ford's political views helped him in post-war Poland as his party was now at the top. It probably also helped him make Five from Barska Street a color film as it was not too common for Polish movies to be in color in 1954.
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