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Five from Barska Street

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Five adolescents from the same neighborhood come of age in Poland during WWII. They grow accustomed to stealing, smuggling, and the other brutalities of wartime. Never knowing any other life, they cannot adapt to normal conditions after the war is over and find themselves in serious legal and moral trouble. Directed by Aleksander Ford, a major figure in the postwar Polish film industry, FIVE FROM BARSKA STREET barely slipped past the communist censors.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tadeusz Janczar, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Hanna Skarzanka, Mieczyslaw Stoor, Ludwik Benoit
  • Directors: Aleksander Ford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: POLART
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0030U1TWK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Format: DVD
Five From Barska Street (Piatka z ulicy Barskiej) (1954) was directed by Aleksander Ford for state-run Film Polski and was based on the same-titled 1952 novel by Kazimierz Kozniewski who also wrote the screenplay.

In 1947, Poland has been "liberated" by the Soviets and the people struggle to rebuild their war-ravaged nation. Five juvenile delinquents, living a desperate existence with their families in crumbled Warsaw, appear in court charged with robbery and other infractions and are mercifully sentenced to probation by the wise and benevolent communist judge. Afterwards, they confront the person they believe testified against them who accidentally falls to his death in the ensuing tussle. It's revealed the boys are secretly members of the anti-communist, nationalist underground and are under the command of a mysterious officer named Zenon.

The court-assigned, fatherly probation officer, Lutek, (Tadeusz Lomnicki), finds work for each of the boys and as they help to rebuild Warsaw their loyalties gradually shift to the communists but they still fear being charged with murder. Kazek's (Tadeusz Janczar) attraction to Hanka (Aleksandra Slaska), an enthusiastic communist at his workplace, leads to a climax in which the boys turn against their nationalist underground leader and embrace communism, becoming heroes of the proletariat.

Director Aleksander Ford was a committed communist and director of the prestigious National Film School in Lodz. Ford left Poland in 1968 during the anti-Semitic purge. Celebrated Polish director, Andrzej Wajda, a student of Ford's, was an assistant on this film. Aleksandra Slaska gives a lovely performance as Hanka and beautiful Ewa Krasnodebska is quite notable as the anguished sister of the dead boy.
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Format: DVD
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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