Opening weekend of Katyn attracts 265,000 viewers


    Katyń, Andrzej Wajda's long-awaited film about one of the most tragic events in Polish history, attracted 265,000 viewers in its first weekend on Polish screens

    That compares with 425,000 viewers for Pan Tadeusz by the same director, released in 105 copies in 1999. But the film's distributor, ITI Cinema (www.iticinema.pl), counts on an audience of 5 million viewers, including numerous school trips, to see Katyń.

    The film is about the slaughter of 22,000 Polish officers by Stalin's NKVD secret police during World War II in the Katyń forest. Although its premiere took place on Sept. 17, the film opened Sept. 21 with 190 copies.

    The film stars leading Polish actors including Andrzej Chyra, Maja Komorowska, Danuta Stenka and Artur Zmijewski. Pawel Edelman is the cinematographer. Katyń is the first picture in Europe made in 4K technology.

    Critics have been nearly unanimous on the significance of the film.

    "This is probably the last important film from these types [of films] that could not be filmed earlier. It's good that it was made," Zdzislaw Pietrasik wrote in "Polityka." Tadeusz Sobolewski in "Gazeta Wyborcza" called the film "a symbolical inhumation of the victims" of the Katyń massacre.

    Some critics, however, accused Katyń of lacking complex characters and criticized what they described as the imperfection of the screenplay.

    "There are no human beings in Katyń. There are only heroes, who are a personification of all virtues," wrote Lech Kurpiewski for "Newsweek." Barbara Hollender, writing for "Rzeczpospolita," agreed: "In this historic fresco, the characters become schematic and one-dimensional."