Kanal (Canal) (They Loved Life) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kanal (Canal) (They Loved Life) Reviews

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½ December 26, 2015
This atmospheric film set in the sewers during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Similar to Rossellini's 'Rome, Open City' the film has a docu-drama feel to it lending the film great authenticity. Due to Wajda's masterful direction, the film transcends the war thriller genre and divulges into more existential aspects of war and at times harnesses an almost supernatural feel. The film has the renowned 'Polish film school' of the 1950s trademark brilliance in cinematography and as with other Wajda films is amalgamated with symbology. Although some of the acting may seem dated it can be forgiven as this style of overplaying parts was quite common at the time. The film doesn't quite reach the same brilliance as Wajda's subsequent film 'Ashes and Diamonds' but is still a film that cineastes must see.
December 30, 2014
The Polish resistance is trapped in the Warsaw ghetto trying to survive the Nazi onslaught during the genocide of the ghetto. As a last desperate resort they are given orders to retreat through the sewers. Can they survive? Nightmarish, intense and harrowing is this searing, extremely brutal film that gets a 100% critics approval rating from Polish director Andrzej Wajda. YES, it's a masterpiece but can you stomach it ?
December 25, 2014
" No body have a home ' while they were in the sewer

" My Piano is out of tone "

* Real caracter psychology reactions
* The Lieutenant killed the civiian soldjer (might Wajda want to say that main characters even got a bad motivation - even he didn't care for the recieptor point of view when he shows empathy )
* The War Triology goes up and up.
* He showes another side of love, another interests, another meaning.
* The senes of war and bombed area and soldjer positions were so REAL.

** Wajda capture the weekness and victories, not only the vectorie. i loved when they get out of the sewer and arrested directly by the germans.
½ January 11, 2013
While most of Kanal has an emphasis with audio and dark shadows in a tunnel comes off as surreal and lucid and a flip to how it starts off as a traditional war film. The film making techniques were ahead of the crop and unique. You cared about the characters and their safety.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
An exceptional film. We are taken from the violent and harsh times that the Warsaw uprising saw with its own eyes to an aimlessly and ultimately destructive decision of madness, solitude and claustrophobia. 40 out of 90 minutes of light is all that we get, but this director is honest, bold and straightforward in its depiction of a reality that was too weak to escape from the claws of evil and mayhem. Hence, this movie demands a lot of patience, offering a more-than-satisfactory conclusion in return, from a cinematic point of view, of course.

August 12, 2012
Among the most literate analysis of life and war. The story doesn't particularly have a main character, but the same story with different people, each of the stories told with a tender love of life and hatred of war. The story (a group from the resistance going through the sewers) is basically showing how far will these people will take their honor before it exhausts them physically and mentally. Each character in this film has a distinct personality, most memorably, the composer, which is a brilliant character to put on this journey. It tells the story of war, of the individual, and of the people, all in this brilliant concept. It tells multiple stories as one, which a lot of films try to do (Pulp Fiction, Nashville, etc.) but not many will ever reach the literate flow of "Kanal". Of course, the unforgettable line "Watch them closely, for these are the last hours of their lives" is just another one of the small things that enhance the elegancy of the story. Even though we are told that just in the beginning, the characters know that better than we ever could, even though some try to ignore their feelings on that. As that gets more and more difficult, to the point where they hit rock bottom, the film gives the characters a quick glimpse of hope. Boy, does this film know where and how to end it. One of the greatest endings of all time, truly artistic. Lastly, the camerawork and visuals. The camera work consists of some long, moving shots, usually going over all the characters, it's quite masterful. But, when it's not doing something like that, the camera is capturing beauty in one way or another, but in the oddest places, and not in places anyone would think. Some images are truly haunting. As a whole, it amounts to everything I look for in a film, and will always be remembered by me, and hopefully many. Wajda is the greatest Polish director that has ever lived.
May 19, 2012
A "classic" full of bad acting, melodrama, and long dull bits.
May 5, 2012
Andrzej Wajda's Kanal is the second film in his acclaimed war trilogy about Poland during the second world war which brought a lot of destruction, and it would even be more after the war ended. In this chapter we follow the polish home army during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 in which the home army have started to revolted against it's german occupiers. But the germans are far more advanced and better armed, so there's no other choice then to retreat, and many of them finds it safe to escape through the sewer (polish: Kanal) where the lack of fresh air causes problem for most of them.

Kanal is a good film that shows us a Warsaw in ruins, germans everywhere, so there's no wonder that many of the resistance people surrendered. While the others was still willing to fight. There's a lot of great characters in this film, the young couple in love, the civilian musician who's have joined the resistance as the only way to survive, and many more. And the cinematography is great, specially the opening scene where we in one single shot we follow the soldiers walks in the trenches to avoid getting hit by the germans. A lot of great things about this movie. Thumbs up.
½ April 22, 2012
Grim, very effective movie about a small band among those in the Polish uprising trying to escape death by the incoming German troops.
April 12, 2012
Much better film than his first, Generation, however, be forewarned that watching this film is extremely unpleasant and intense due to the subject matter. Excellent real-life depiction of WW II horror.
½ February 27, 2012
Kanal is one of the greatest war films I've ever seen. It takes place during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising during which the Polish citizens fought back against the Nazis. It ultimately turned out to be a search and destroy mission for the Nazis as they hunted down and killed everyone. And the director doesn't pull any punches - he tells you in opening narration that these are the last hours of their lives. The film begins above ground as we see the resistance running out of supplies and being pushed back further and further. Soon, they're forced down into the sewers below the city and must find their way out, away from the Germans who are guarding most of the exits. Here, it turns into a straight up psychological thriller as the men and women begin to break from lack of oxygen, food, and the fact that they're living in sewage. They choices that the characters make and the imagery of their situation are breathtaking and emotionally wrenching. You know they're going to die, but just like the characters themselves, you want to hold on to some ounce of hope. You want to believe that they'll survive. Daisy is perhaps the most compelling character. She's stronger than many of the men and literally carries them on her back. The choices she makes are the truly heartbreaking her actions carry the theme of the film. The last shot of the film is a perfect end note and leaves you with that final punch that brings it all together. Kanal is not the conventional war film with sweeping battle scenes and action set pieces. It falls more into the vein of Apocalypse Now, where it becomes a bleak psychological portrait of war and sacrifices we make for freedom.
February 6, 2012
Incredible film by Wajda. Film about the resistance facing defeat during the end of the Warsaw uprising tries to go downtown through the sewers but get lost in the labyrinth of a seemingly endless sewer system and fear, madness, and desperation set in whilst becoming weak and sick from the toxic gases emitting from the waste deep rivers of shit and sludge. This is one of those films that you can really feel the desperation and horror the poles are facing and the sewer becomes almost the central character. Which is fitting because the film feels like a horror movie at times. Winner of the special jury prize at Cannes in 1957. 9/10, Masterpiece.
½ November 6, 2011
Beautiful opening shot. It got a bit depressing and frustrating in the sewers
November 6, 2011
Gritty and bold. Astonishing.
November 6, 2011
Brutal, unrelenting depiction of the final days of the Polish Uprising in September 1944 ("war is hell" made explicit) whereby the fleeing troops are slowly decimated and then escape into the sewers to their doom. Grim but never less than compelling cinema.
½ November 6, 2011
Pair with The Pianist.
½ November 6, 2011
interesting post WWII drama about WWII
November 6, 2011
Accounts the Polish uprising during WWII to show desperate bravery but little hope in a hellish situation.
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