Archive of films Katyn / Katyń

2007, 117 min

Section: Official Selection - Out of Competition
Year: 2008

Rather than a film about the Katyn massacre, Katyn focuses more on the Katyn lie. The story is largely set in occupied Cracow, where the families of murdered officers are bemused by contradictory propaganda from the warring sides and vainly try to find out what happened to their loved ones in captivity. The truth is reconstructed at the close of the film.


After the Soviet aggression on 17 September 1939 around 4,500 Polish officers were imprisoned in Kozelsk. At Stalin’s orders, the majority were executed in Katyn in the early spring of 1940. Thousands more Polish prisoners perished in other camps. In 1943 the Germans accused the NKVD for the Katyn massacre; the Soviets in turn laid the blame on the Germans. In post-war Poland people were punished for spreading the truth about the Katyn atrocity… Wajda, whose father also died in captivity, however, bases his work on the experiences of the families of Katyn victims. They were not only deceived by two-way propaganda, but also terrorised by two sources of totalitarian power. The plot largely unfolds in occupied Cracow, whose oppressive atmosphere Wajda creates from his own recollections, and leads into the ominous period after liberation, perceived as yet another occupation. Through his choice of protagonists, in particular, the women, he draws out a dark past with its resolute voice of hope, solidarity and quiet courage. The director treats this highly political theme on a personal level; as a reliable chronicler of Polish history he also highlights the suffering of the intellectual elite, systematically annihilated by totalitarian regimes.

About the director

Andrzej Wajda (b. 1926, Suwałki, Poland) devoted much of his oeuvre to his own reflections of wartime Poland. After his debut A Generation (Pokoleniye, 1954) he focused on the resistance fighters from the ranks of the unacknowledged Home Army in the films Canal (Kanał, 1956), Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament, 1958) and The Ring with a Crowned Eagle (Pierścionek z orłem w koronie, 1992). The tragic start to the war was captured in the films Lotna (1959) and Chronicle of Amorous Accidents (Kronika wypadków miłosnych, 1985), the post-war trauma of imprisoned Poles in Landscape after the Battle (Krajobraz po bitwie, 1970) and the humiliating treatment of Poles in A Love in Germany (Eine Liebe in Deutschland, 1983). Wajda considered the lot of the Jews in the films Samson (1961), Korczak (1988) and Holy Week (Wielki Tydzień, 1995). Katyn (2007) is to date Wajda’s most recent return to war issues.


J.P. Woronicza 17, 00-999, Warsaw
Tel: +48 225 478 501, +48 225 476 203
Fax: +48 225 474 248

Bontonfilm, a.s.
Na Poříčí 1047/26, 110 00, Praha 1
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 257 415 111
Fax: +420 257 415 113

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Official Selection - Out of Competition
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Screenplay: Andrzej Wajda, Władysław Pasikowski, Przemysław Nowakowski podle románu Andrzeje Mularczyka Post mortem / based on the novel Post mortem by Andrzej Mularczyk
Dir. of Photography: Paweł Edelman
Music: Krzysztof Penderecki
Editor: Milenia Fiedler, Rafał Listopad
Producer: Michał Kwieciński
Production: Akson Studio
Cast: Maja Ostaszewska, Artur Żmijewski, Andrzej Chyra, Jan Englert, Danuta Stenka, Paweł Małaszyński, Magdalena Cielecka
Contact: TVP SA, Bontonfilm, a.s.
Distributor: Bontonfilm, a.s.


Aleksandra Biernacka


Aleš Danielis


Marek Jeníček

Distributor, Producer

Michal Kroupa

Distributor, Distributor

Maria Letowska

Maciej Karpinski

Film Institution Rep., Film Institution Rep.


© 2020 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
Festival DailyFestival Daily
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide