Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
I always thought that I do not like musicals too much. With time I learnt to enjoy them. But there was always one film that I loved for its theme, melancholy but especially for its fabulous music. As the title says the movie is about forbidden songs, those that the Poles were not allowed to sing, or even listen, during the World War 2.
The film was directed in 1946 by Leonard Buczkowski. Its plot starts in september 1939, along with the start of the war, and ends in 1945 – when Warsaw was liberated. A musician, Roman Tokarski, tells a young soldier a story of occupation, his and his sister’s actions and surivival. Roman and his sister – Halina – were active members of underground organisation that would smuggle weapon and publish illegal leaflets, as well as take part in combat operations.
The real main character of the movie is beautiful music that cherished and supported the Poles during the time of occupation. Patriotic songs, sang or played secretely, helped the nation survive and forget about everyday life of occupied country. Some of them were performed among small number of people, so that not to be heard, while others hid the real meaning of words, laughing at the occupier behind their back and in language that was usually not understood by them.
‘Forbidden Songs’ (Zakazane Piosenki) was the first feature film made after the end of World War 2. Although it was shown for the first time in 1947, it was soon removed from cinemas to get some changes introduced in its plot. The changes, ordered by the authorities, were to stress better the cruelty of the Nazis and the input of the Soviets in winning the war. Both versions, however, were very popular among polish audience and ‘Forbidden Songs’ is still one of the most frequently seen movies in the country.
Although the movie may seem sad, as it is hard to tell the story of war without its victims, it actually gives hope and let’s us believe in strength of a human being. Wonderful Polish songs, incorporated easily in the plot, are very often joyful. The film seems to be a tribute to music that was sometimes the only weapon and entertainment ordinary people had during the times of occupation. It is certainly worth recommendation and the songs from the film will surely stay in your mind for a long time.