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Young Forest - Mlody Las DVD
[dv540]
$19.95
by Richard J. Brzostek Date Added: Tuesday 03 January, 2012
Young Forrest (Mlody Las) is probably one of the most serious pre-war Polish films I ever watched. The title is a metaphor and not one to be taken literally. Directed by Joseph Lejtes in 1934, Young Forrest takes us back thirty years earlier from when this movie was made to 1904-5. At this time, Poland as a country has not existed for over a century due to her neighbors partitioning her into non-existence. The story is primarily about a boys' school and the students there (as well as the girls' school).

At the time, the students were forbidden to learn about Polish history; they had to learn about such topics secretly. The students are fully aware that the education system is not one in which the truth is taught, but rather one their government wants them to learn. It is ironic watching this movie and seeing this considering the situation was exactly the same after World War II in Soviet occupied Poland. Children where taught the real truth at home by their parents (such as the truth about Katyn) and had to listen to something else at school and not reveal their real thoughts at school or face serious consequences. And truly oddly enough, the situation really isn't much different today (at least in America). Certain topics and beliefs that were normal not so long ago are now considered "outdated" by the left-wing educators. Today, parents have to educate their values to their children, as the school only teaches the "new" values (or lack of them, with mottos like "there is no such thing as right or wrong").


It doesn't take a great philosopher to figure out the future is in the hands of the children. What the children think and what they believe shapes the entire future, so I guess it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that in every age controlling the education of the youth is considered vital for controlling the society. But despite this being obvious, it is still eye opening. There are scenes in Young Forrest that talk about solidarity and strikes, reminding us of Poland in the 1980s, with both being such key parts to overthrowing communism. The occupiers' method of "rule by the rifle" reminded me of the many films I watched on German occupied Poland, which I can only say is eerie.

As with many pre-war films, the actors and directors were all affected by the outbreak of the war. It is worth noting that the School Director Starogrenadzki is played by Boguslaw Samborski. Samborski makes a great villain as he has this natural scarry aura. He was one of the few Polish actors that participated in German films during the war. Samborski was in the infamous1941 Nazi propaganda film Homecoming (Heimkehr), which was an attempt to justify the invasion of Poland in 1939. For his collaboration, Samborski was no longer safe in Poland and had to flee to Germany after the war, eventually ending up in Argentina where he lived until his death in 1971.

The director's career was also changed due to the war. Lejtes no longer made Polish movies after the war, but continuing making films in Israel, Great Britton and the United States. His post-war work includes television series such as Bonanza and 12 O'Clock High.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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