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Andrzej Munk's 'heroic symphony', set during WWII, presents two sardonic tales of courage and valour which aim to demystify the archetypal image of heroism. The first movement focuses on a seemingly feckless and selfish man and his ironic route to finally taking up arms in the national struggle against the Nazis. The second movement is set in a POW camp whose Polish inmates cling to their hopes for an eventual escape, encouraged by the legendary escape of one of their number.
Both tales converge to create a blackly comic and perceptive satire; a provocative, powerful, and potent anti-war poem considered amongst the most subversive films of the period.