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In poverty, she found strength.
In oppression, she found courage.
In solidarity, she found a reason to believe again.
Acclaimed German actress Katharina Thalbach (THE TIN DRUM, SOPHIES CHOICE) stars in this hard-hitting historical drama set during the rise of Polands Solidarity movement.
An illiterate single mother, Agnieszka Kowalska is a Socialist "heroine of labor" for working long hours as a shipyard welder until her superiors deny compensation to the widows of 21 workers killed in an industrial disaster.
Risking her job, her life, and the love of her son to defy the bureacracy, Agnieszka inspires the largest labor strike in world history and becomes a national hero.
Volker Schlöndorff adapted this "ballad based on historical events" from the biography of Anna Walentynowicz, the free trade activist who mobilized a million Poles for Solidarity and helped hasten the fall of Communism.
Filmed entirely on location at Polands Lenin Shipyard, where history was made.
A terrific lead performance by Katharina Thalbach --Reel.com
Top Customer Reviews
Her stubborn insistence on justice and refusal to be payed off or intimidated by the shipyard management or Polish Government caused the strike on the Gdansk shipyard in August 1980 which spread to other Polish shipyards and public services across Poland all of which led to the creation of the first free unions and ultimately free elections in Poland 10 years later. Consequently, the consequences of her actions were a part of several domestic and military setbacks for the Soviet Union which ultimately led to its collapse.
Thalback put in a superb performance as Kowalska who shows that one person at the right time and place can lead to dramatic change for the good.
This should be purchased along with the DVD, and another true story of the courage of the Polish People during their long struggle for freedom, "TO KILL A PRIEST".
In my view, "Strike" is an unusual Polish film as it is a German production in the Polish language. German director Volker Schlondorff, who is best known for "Tin Drum," brings us this story about the woman who spurred the Solidarity movement. Furthermore, two of the leading roles in "Strike" are played by Germans, including that of our heroine Agnieszka (Katharina Thalbach). The rest of the cast is Polish -- including notable performances by Andrzej Chyra and Andrzej Grabowski. The only detail that is obviously German about "Strike" is that the credits are in that language.
"Strike" isn't the first movie on the Solidarity movement. In 1981, Andrzej Wajda directed his influential film "Man of Iron" (Czlowiek z Zelaza) that showed the world what was happening in Poland. Interestingly, "Strike" has someone playing the role of Lech Walesa while in "Man of Iron" has Lech Walesa appearing as himself. Although both having a different feeling they show us history we may not have heard much about anywhere else.
In the face of injustice, corruption and bad working conditions, some people had the courage to stand up to defend the rights of workers. The dramatic story of our wide-eye heroine Agnieszka may inspire you.Read more ›
I see that other reviewers read into the film - and the Solidarity movement - the prevailing Western consensus that it "began the end of Communism", etc. This is hardly the case. As one of those Leftists vilified by others, I must say that I never "hated" Solidarity, and thus I have no fundamental issue with this recreation. It portrays the struggle of real working people, following a template that applied to so many labor struggles in Europe, Latin America and - for that matter - the US throughout most of the 20th century. But the intervening history between the triumph of 1980 and the spiritual defeat of Solidarity is glossed over in the film.
The Solidarity of 1980-1981 was crushed by General Jaruszelski's tanks and praetorian troops. What emerged in 1989 bore no resemblance to this movement, and the real character fictionalized here - Anna Walentynowicz - has been among those former leaders deploring Poland's evolution under a false-flag Solidarnosc. Another Solidarity leader, Karol Modzelewski, said at the time of this film's release to Le Monde diplomatique that "I wouldn't have spent a week nor a month, let alone 8.5 years in jail for capitalism!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
inspiring...workers are willing to fight for their rights .Published 21 months ago by Marilyn K. Hunt
STRIKE..the biography of Agnieszka Kowalska whose revolt against Communism inspired the creation of Solidarity and thus the liberation of Poland from the jackboot of the Left. Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by The Mysterious Traveler
The subtitle editor ruined the whole experience; s/he framed the whole movie from being a workers' tale to a competition between two activists. Read morePublished on May 30, 2012 by Lycos