|Richard Brzostek - 08/11/2006
"With Fire and Sword" (Ogniem i Mieczem) was the film that started my interest in Polish cinema a few years ago. Its story, effects, and history amazed me. Watching the movie was a life-changing event for me on the level of being a spiritual and cultural experience. It ranks among the best I have ever watched and is one of my all time favorites.
"With Fire and Sword" is based on the first of a trilogy written by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It takes place in the 17th century, when Poland's borders were much wider than they are today. However, it also a time when nearly all of its neighbors invaded its land throughout the century. This story has it all. It is a love story and a war story. It is fairly lengthy, but considering it is an epic and covers an intricate story with so much happening, I loved every minute and feel it needs the time to fully portray the story.
Although the film should not be taken as an exact history, it is remarkable how many of the historical details do match up. In my study of this time by reading and though my involvement with a 17th century Polish-Lithuanian living history group, I am amazed on the volume of fine details that are accurate in the film. Regardless, the film is not a documentary but entertainment and that it is without any doubt.
Even people unfamiliar with Polish cinema may recognize some of its actors. Izabella Scorupco, who plays the leading lady in this film also played in the English speaking films "GoldenEye" and "Reign of Fire." Two men with very prominent parts in this movie (Michal Zebrowski and Zbigniew Zamachowski) also have small parts in Roman Polanski's "The Pianist." If you enjoy long historical movies, "With Fire and Sword" is a must.
This DVD is the TV version of the film, which is broken into four parts, with credits at the end of each part. There are voiceovers when those speaking Ukrainian talk, which obstructs hearing them. Often, the only difference between the Ukrainian and Polish is the accent. Personally, I find the voiceover to be a little annoying.
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