A black-and-white 1990 biopic about the last years of Henryk Goldszmit, aka Jan Korczak (Wojciech Pszoniak), the celebrated Polish Jewish saint — a children’s doctor and author of children’s books who accompanied 200 Jewish orphans to the gas ovens of Treblinka. It’s directed by Andrzej Wajda from a script by Agnieszka Holland, and shot by Robby Muller, but despite the talented people involved, the problems of dealing unsentimentally with a Polish national hero are not always solved, and the film has also been understandably criticized abroad (by Shoah‘s Claude Lanzmann, among others) for whitewashing the role played by Poland in facilitating the Nazis’ work. Apart from these serious caveats, the handling of locations and period detail is carefully done, and the film’s sincerity makes up at times for its oversimplifications. (JR)

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