History | 1960 | Sound | Colour
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A social. Economical, and political history of Poland up until the mid-1960's. Mostly animated.
A pink map of Europe with Poland highlighted, the highlighter flashes, and vanishes then the map zooms in; Slavic tribes are represented between two rivers, the Oder and Vistula. A pink screen, flat ground with hills in background, and silhouettes of men holding sticks - ancient weapons, the men move in to meet in the centre. A castle ruin, a tall tower. Another tower - possibly the same one from another angle. Several basic, stereotypical, drawn castle outlines on a plain background, lines of dots move to link them all, and the image moves to the right - to represent the take over by Polish tribes - the dots reach an elaborate drawn cross, that is replaced by four men with 'Russian' hats and cossack type clothing, holding boxes and pots - these represent the kingdom of Byzantium. The men vanish, the screen dashes back past the castles and stops on a group of soldiers (again drawn) with shields and swords and flags. The head and shoulders of a drawn man in a cape, holding a dagger in his right hand; in the background a group of warriors - this is Mieszko I - the number 966 appears next to the man, and the dagger in his hand is replaced by a cross, as this is when he accepted the Catholic faith and was crowned king; a crown appears on his head. Poland becomes a nation, the map of Europe, Poland coloured white with the red symbol of the Phoenix symbol. A cross appears next to the land, the furthest outpost of Western Christianity. The cross vanishes, and Mieszko's son, Boleslaw I appears on the map, and the land under the Polish kingdom increases as the white outline expands to Kiev and the Black Sea.
A Polish army in a castle fight off Mongol forces, two armies fight. Fourteenth Century; two oblong circles on screen, in one, Casimir III the Great, in the other changing symbols of law, education, currency, immigration, as reforms are enacted. The two pictures are replaced by the drawings of a lady in a crown (Queen Jadwiga) and a man also in a crown (The Grand Duke of Lithuania). On the map the border between the two countries vanishes leaving Poland increased in size. Dramatic painting of a battle between a Polish and Lithuanian army, and a Teutonic tribe - 1411 on screen, camera moves around the picture.
The Polish Phoenix, wearing a crown, and a banner beneath his feet reads 1500-1700 [Poland's golden years].
Men and women at a feast. Picture apparently of Jesus carrying the cross amongst a group. Statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, close up of Mary's face. A named drawing of Copernicus on the right of screen, stars in the sky, he holds scientific and measuring tools of medieval times.
Town photograph - very elaborate renaissance style statues, pillar with many figures on it, section of church on one side, building on the other. Close up showing the top of the statue with church spire in background. Fountain with relaxing figures in front of an ornate building. Statue of a naked man holding a long thin sword. Fountain with man on top, holding what looks like a Trident with animals at his feet, camera moves down to iron at bottom of fountain. Hall in (possibly) Sixteenth Century building, chairs along three sides of square face one chair on platform - possibly a royal court room, ornate candle sticks on ground and hung from ceiling, large paintings on walls. Screen fades. Five blank shields drawn in a circle with one in the centre, lines linking them all (to represents Poland's' states), the lines then fade until each shield is replaced with a castle. Large stars of light flash over different sections of the screen as Poland fights with other nations - a big fist appears in one.
A large painted battle scene, soldiers fading into the distance, the camera moves to the right and covers the full scene, as 1683 comes up on bottom. Polish lords unite to ward off the Turks at the Danube - lots of faces are picked out of the crowd and enlarged. Basic drawing of flags that pans round until a group of men hold weapons and fist under the First National Flag of the U. S. A and the Polish flag, the names Pulaski and Kosciuszko are written across the screen for they led Poland's assistance to America in the War of Independence.
An outline of Poland, with many lines across so it looks like broken china. Three-claw like hands appear around the country - Russia, Austria and Prussia. A red line divides the country into three, and each hand grasps one section. The hands vanish, only the names remain and the outline of Poland flashes, as the 'heart of it's repressed peoples'.
The flame of Polish nationalism is drawn on screen. Behind it a book, then face, outline name of Chopin and Madame Currie. Screen fades.
Drawing representing World War One, men run amongst loops of barbed wire. An outline of a town , an animated Phoenix rises and stands as the Polish symbol.
disintegrating crown replaced by the flag of the U. S. S. R. The Phoenix returns and arrows push out to retake old land, including Kiev, but stars flash the failure.
Inter-war years: A grand house with white pillars at the entrance. A man dressed in fur lined jacket and tall leather boots greets a lady also in fur jacket and a dog runs at their feet, the man puts a cap on his head. Man (similarly dressed) walk towards a farm building with machinery in front, some holding tools, one lady wears a shawl. Close up one holds a walking stick (although young) and instructs a group of peasants. A lady has a cloth over her head, the men around her have flat caps. The lady talks to the landowner and the others wander around her, the landlord shakes his stick a lot. A man fixes something on a horses tail. A peasant family sit in a dark house, the father brushing or polishing something, the mother cooking on a stove, and young girl in very 'traditional' clothing gets up and walks out. Close up of the man, as bread is buttered before him. He takes a bit and eats, smiling toothlessly at the camera - he's dressed in trousers, white sleeved shirt and leather waist-coat.
A Catholic procession down a street, four Priests lead the way, holding Sceptres (possibly), behind walk girls in costume and hold tapestries and banners. A close up of the girls. Men and boys wearing white robes follow solemnly with bowed heads. Crowds follow, some boys ringing small bells.
A Jewish Ghetto: a dirty street, debris at the sides, an archway ahead, leading to more streets, some children play at the front, two seem to carry a dead pine or fern tree. A busy street side centred on a shop, crowds walk past. The camera focuses on the items in the shop window (clothing?) and then on an old lady and man - assumingly Jewish - the man wears a dark long jacket, and a hat, he has a long bushy white beard and moustache, the lady next to him has a cloth hat and scarf. Close up of the man nodding and smiling. Close up of the lady smiling and licking her lips. Two young boys with traditional Hassidic hair styles and hat.
A pick-axe dragging through rubble, a man in a cap digging with it. A man loading carts with stones of some kind in a mine, a winch turns to carry this up. A lady in a big checked cardigan pours out milk from a large jug to the miners as they leave a building and take their masks off. Close up of a man drinking. A very large jug pours some kind of liquid into brick shaped moulds and someone scrapes the top smooth. Signs reading Giesche and Electrolyt. A town square with buildings and statues in the background - a market, many stalls of fruit and vegetables. A fruit stall with man buying, further along what looks like sacks of nuts. Twenty or thirty ladies push prams around a park - picture of calm.
A young boy runs down a street with a bundle of newspapers under his arm. Group of pedestrians read newspapers next to an advertising board. Girls youth group marches down a street in the Free City of Danzig under the Nazi Swastika. The Polish Army marching down a street. The President Moscicki hands over power (represented by a Sceptre) to General Smigly-Rydz, who bows and shakes his hand, then the President embraces the General. A guard on horse back controls a crowd, on the background the Polish flag hangs from a building. The Polish Army marches proudly through a town, pulling cannons, in the background more soldiers in columns.
Large diagram - Poland overshadowed by a Three-Dimensional Swastika which spreads two hands and arms across the country. September First 1939. The Polish Phoenix is fitted onto a barrier. Hundreds of planes cross the sky. A Polish propaganda poster showing a Polish soldier gallantly spearing a massive clawed hand with a Swastika on it, underneath is written 'Wara!' A close up. The Polish cavalry speed through the countryside, towards the camera. Hundreds of Nazi tanks and trucks. A bridge is blown up. The ruins of a town - probably Warsaw. Low shot of woman pushing a pram heaped up with all her possessions. Refugees: a horse drawn cart laden with belongings, pots, blankets etc, with a man holding then down, and a scarved woman rides among her possessions. Two boys walk next to the cart. Aerial shots of now homeless Poles amongst what remains of their homes; tables and piles of wood, some chairs, on the ground men try to fix their furniture and women wash in basins. A woman washes her foot in a large bowl balanced on a bucket. Faces of victims, while in the background people wander through the wreckage; an old man. A confused teenage girl. A worried middle-aged man. A bewildered young girl with bobbed black hair. A very thin old lady with a head scarf prays, another next to her does the same. Two dead bodies - maybe female - sprawled on the ground among debris. A devastated girl weeps and speaks over the body of someone she knew. Buildings burn.
Illustration: A Russian (Soviet) soldier watches a long column of Poles trail into Siberia. Basic drawings of soldiers fighting in (written) 'Western Europe', 'Italy' and 'North Africa'. Illustration: Nazi flag with barbed wire and Jewish prisoner in Concentration Camp striped clothing. Cartoon faces. Star of David with red dots drawn across. Outlines of men. Drawn crosses. Ruined city, dove and laurels. Map: land given in return for what Russia had taken.
End of war: panoramic view around a ruined town, no people. Goats roam among ruins. Line of coffins with Polish flags draped across. Priest blesses soldiers. Row of soldiers lining the coffins pass crosses down their line. A peasant lady cries into her glove-covered hands. Two well tended graves. Three commemorative candles burn.
Soldiers and civilians start clearing up the rubble. man walks towards camera with wheelbarrow full of bricks. Man unloads from another brick carrier. Men push full barrows across a plank of wood, over camera. Men in uniforms dig with spades through big pile of stones.
Communist Poland: Crowds in Warsaw, with lots of Communist flags ( reading P.P.R ) and men in uniform. Poznan 1948 - International Trade Fair - moves across building, which is very modern, lots of people wander around, under loops of metal and other architecture. Examples of modern machinery. Four men look at a new Ford motor car. Close up of the car sign. View across countryside around town, very flat. A man walks towards the camera across the ploughed land of his plot, scattering seed from a large bowl held by a strap round his neck. In the distance a man walks a horse along with a wooden plough. Close up of horse and plough. Machines, ploughs and cutters, cross a field of corn or hay. A big hay stack. Next to it a man carries piles of hay onto his cart. A collective farm, a row of machines with men on them, loading turnips off into a high gully. Close up of some turnips. Close up of a man working. Pulleys above a coal mine. Miners working underground with picks and shovels, hard hats on their heads. A man watches a machine as another walks past with a lantern. Three soot-covered miners, still with hats on, walk out of a building and greet another, three smoke cigarettes.
An auto-mobile shop from inside, a crowd gaze in. From outside men study this 'almost unobtainable luxury'. Car through the glass, with the reflection of the man outside across the bonnet. A bus stops outside a steel mill, 10 steaming chimneys retreat into the distance under the name which stretches across the entrance - in metal. Rubbish heaps before the building. Scenes of industry - cranes etc. Buildings, chimneys, a metal block being lifted across the screen. Inside the factory, melting, smelting and other processes take place. Hundreds of wheels in a field. Men working on trains. Women work in a timber yard, stacks of planks behind them. A large boat, ship or liner, passengers climb down into the dock. A crane lifts a metal column onto the deck.
Gdansk (Danzig) - reconstructed town. A group of women and children lean over a wall, looking down into the town. View across the building tops. Aerial view of a street with a fountain in the centre and pedestrians walking either side. View down a street - fancy street lamp in foreground, peaceful street in background, nice buildings on right, on left a man walks near the fountain. A couple and young boy underneath a column in Gdansk, smiling up at something. View up a building. Crowd outside a building, Polish flags attached to a pole carrying telephone or electricity cables.
Inside a church, choir boys rise behind the priest, the church is very well decorated, the priest prays. Two elderly peasant women with shawls to cover their heads in the congregation. Close up of a very wrinkled, nearly toothless peasant (probably female). Congregation under two religious banners. The Priest reads and says his sermon. The people - men, women, children - leave the church. A priest blesses a small boy outdoors with a church in the background, the boys mother holding her son close to her. Brother looks on. To their right a church is apparently under construction.
Two nurses walk along the outside of a hospital. A nun talks, close up. Two nurses with masks over their mouths wheel a trolley of new born babies, wrapped in blankets through the maternity ward of the hospital. A mother cuddles her new baby. Two nurses find medicine in a form of stock room. Tray of glasses and pills for patients. One women sits on her bed and takes a pill. A doctor uses a stethoscope on a bare chested young boy. A poor village, two women talk over a fence, a young girl with them. Women queue for bread, a close up of the bread shop. Two women at a meat shop. A rural market, carts and wagons in a field, hundreds present. Cows. Two men exchange money. A man leads a cow. A woman wrestles with a pig.
Aerial view over a very urban scene. Blocks of flats. Close up of flats under construction. Man working on roof. Three 'street-car conductors' (trams) talk and wait until one comes up behind them. Hundreds of people crammed onto the tram. Camera is in drivers cabin on tram, and watches the clean streets go past. People walk past, a fountain, several cars on the roads.
A modern day (1960's) family at home, eating, in a tidy but spartan home. Photographs of the family. The daughter eating. The son. A school - a modern building, children playing outside. A science lesson. A student. Boy writes on the board, teacher looking on. A girl student reads aloud from a text book. A couple buy newspapers from a small kiosk. Printing of newspapers. Men editing newspaper.
Revolt against Moscow (1956), flags (one Polish, other unclear) blow in wind, a wreath half way down flag pole. Statue of three men with flags in background. Giant open aired stadium, packed, with lots in a march and dance in the middle/ Young men and women act out tableaux in costume. Dancing.
A wedding, the bride and groom laugh. At the outdoor reception many dance, an accordion is played, everyone laughs. Men and women look at colour magazines of equipment and new machines and cartoons. A flower stall. Adverts for plays etc. People crowd a book stall for 'Western Ideas', recently translated books. A gallery of modern art. A town, traffic and pedestrians. Pedestrians cross street.
Warsaw university, from outside. Inside a lecture hall students listen. The professor writes on the board. Students, male and female. Scenes of students outside the building, and talking and reading. Smiling youths. Teenage boys in a smoky cafe or club, smoking, talking. Musicians play. Crowds dance, Jive and Rock and Roll. Girls also smoke and drink.
'...can the Poles reassert their independence?'
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