Feature

Strike

The firing of a female shipyard worker inspires the creation of Poland’s Solidarity movement.

Volker Schlondorff's Polish-language film 'œbelongs to a tradition of heroic labor-union melodramas,' said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. From Sergei Eisenstein's identically named 1924 silent to Hollywood's Norma Rae, filmmakers can't resist tales of mistreated workers fighting back. In Strike, though, 'œthe bosses are not greedy capitalists but Communist bureaucrats, committed, in theory, to defending the interests of the workers.' German actress Katharina Thalbach plays a character based on Anna Walentynowicz, the Gdansk shipyard worker whose firing spurred the creation of the Solidarity movement in 1980. 'œRough-hewn and modest, stirring but rarely grandiose,' Strike pays tribute to a brave woman and her comrades, whose victories presaged the fall of communism. Schlondorff portrays his heroine as a sort of proletarian superwoman, said Julia Wallace in The Village Voice. 'œShe works so hard that she leads the shipyard in production 10 years in a row, yet still finds time to sing, dance, raise a son, take a lover, and foment a revolution.' Needless to say, that's not entirely true to life, said Jan Stuart in Newsday. Walentynowicz 'œhas undergone a romantic makeover' on the way to the big screen. But knowing that doesn't detract from Strike's stirring story or the 'œpumping dynamism that keeps you with it.'

Rating: Not rated

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