Pasazerka (The Passenger) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pasazerka (The Passenger) Reviews

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July 9, 2014
The film had been put together, from the unfinished raw materials, by people who wanted to add nothing superficial to the planned but unknown vision of Munk. So there is not only no ending, but much is left open in the plot lines. Surprisingly, this is what makes the film so powerful. Maybe even had Munk finished his film, it would be not much different.

One way to describe the film is by the narrator's words at the end - "it is about crimes committed by people who are still human". As the central part of the film is narrated by a female Auschwitz junior supervisor, we see, in the first person, how thin, or easy to cross, is the line from innocence to crime, how easy it might be to see oneself not as a perpetrator but as a victim.

The "open ending" character of the film is not confusing - it seems logical, consistent, pointing to the terrible freedom we humans have when deciding our actions, fate, responsibility.

The central part of the movie takes part in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The gory reality of that place is shown almost as a sideline, just enough so there is no doubt about enormity of the crime, so there is no forgetting of the real victims, but without numbing the viewer. After all, the true scope of the crime can be only understood by somebody who is still human, still capable of thought and human emotion, who is not reduced to a terrorized witness.

The film, despite being produced well within the era of communist Poland, is untainted by any - then common - communist ideology dictates. So it survives well the test of time. It is also rather untainted by (otherwise understandable) Polish sense of victimhood. While it is a powerful presentation of the incomprehensible reality of the Holocaust, it seems to lay bare much about human frailty and strength anywhere, anytime.

I think this film has a firm place in an even most select canon of works presenting the collective human experience of the WWII for all us to remember.

You may search YouTube for fragments of the film, hopefully the full restored version of the film will be at some point (legally) freely available online, as are available already some other works of Munk from the same studio.
August 2, 2012
Although not finished (due to the director's sudden death), it's a remarkable achievement in the field of war-time dramas. Full of emotions and deep feelings, this heartbreaking tale of a forbidden love in the Auschwitz concentration camp leaves the viewer struck with compassion and affliction. Told in retrospective, by a German passenger on a cruise ship, who sees a woman she thinks she met a long time ago. And when she does, she embarks on a journey into her own haunting memories. Great use of photos and a narrator to replace the blank spots in the beginning.
August 26, 2011
This is a masterpiece of Polish chinema containing several very interesting ideas with regard to storytelling (f.e the Aufseherin talks next to nothing,except for in her mind,that is, her memory). If You are looking for a profound and introspective movie about the Holocaust look no further.
½ June 22, 2011
Reminds me of the Reader
May 30, 2009
I'm glad this film made this list because it's one of the unsung masterpieces of the cinema, a truly great Holocaust film; a profound examination of memory, etc. It is unfinished because the director died during production. Like Schubert's 8th Symphony, it is perfect as it stands.
April 28, 2009
Convincing psychological portrayal of the power relations between SS officer and prisoner, and starkly effective in illustrating the shifting amorphous nature of memory adjusting itself to suit the situation. Although a film cut short by the premature death of the director, the brevity adds to the strength of the film.
½ February 23, 2009
Pity Andrzej Munk died so soon... But what was there, especially the portrayal of the two women's ??????, was brilliant.
½ January 31, 2009
powerful narration and story. Too bad that the film is left unfinished, while the little bits and pieces have a dark drive to it.
December 22, 2008
Is a great movie! I like it even more to several movies that are finish!
½ September 3, 2008
a very interesting story. brilliant acting as well. what a pity munk couldn't finish it...
March 11, 2008
I can count on one hand the number of good Holocaust films - this is one of them.
January 14, 2008
i don't remember too much about this, i was pretty young, but my older bro had to drag me around everywhere with him. bonus for him(not!) i could barely read the subtitles, but from what i remember it was very touching!
January 6, 2008
the director died before he finished editing so its got kinda slide show in it, but actually i liked it. the story was good, situated in nazis invasion in poland. Good one.
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