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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Polish Movie
A female guard at Auschwitz has an uneasy ambivalent relationship with a female inmate she is encouraging to "co-operate" with daily life in the camp.

Using Auschwitz itself as locations, this film was based on a similar true story to that which inspired Night Porter (though the two films couldn't be more different) - ex guard and inmate meet in the post-war...
Published on 13 Feb. 2007 by HJ

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars historically accurate with good costumes.
A bit of a let down and difficult to follow; historically accurate with good costumes.
Published 7 months ago by Chris Green


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Polish Movie, 13 Feb. 2007
By 
HJ (London UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Passenger [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
A female guard at Auschwitz has an uneasy ambivalent relationship with a female inmate she is encouraging to "co-operate" with daily life in the camp.

Using Auschwitz itself as locations, this film was based on a similar true story to that which inspired Night Porter (though the two films couldn't be more different) - ex guard and inmate meet in the post-war era, triggering reflections back on their relationship and the "truth" of what happened between them. Basically the film is exploring the "banality of evil" thesis and the psychology of the camps as institutionalised sado-masochism (with, sadly, obvious resonance in today's world).

The director Munck died in a car accident while making The Passenger and instead of completing the film his assistants filled the gaps (the post-war part of the film) with stills & voice-over commentary on the problems of the narrative (reminiscent of Marker's La Jetee). Far from spoiling the film these short interludes somehow suit the story & make it seem more sensitive towards its representation of the issues.

It is perhaps worth saying that the film not too graphic & is quite understated given the setting. The horror of the camps is (mostly) off camera. On the other hand the film is deceptively powerful - & inevitably disturbing - in its effect.

Apparently The Passenger met with great acclaim at Cannes & elsewhere when originally released but fell into inexplicable obscurity. It fully warrants this DVD reissue and deserves to be widely seen.

The DVD comes with a booklet & a documentary extra including interviews with Polanski and others. The aspect ratio is a bit odd & box-like which didn't worry me but might bother technical types.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is something chilling about this women in unifom with a totenkopf patch on her cap, 11 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Passenger [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
Passenger (Pasazerka) is a story about a woman named Liza who returns to Europe after being away for many years. On the luxury liner she seems a woman who reminds her of the past that she would rather forget and one her husband had no idea about. During Would War II she was in the German army and an overseer at Auschwitz.

The story goes back to show us what she is like during the war. As an overseer, we see she takes a liking to a Polish woman named Marta who is a political prisoner at Auschwitz. It turns out her fiancée is also imprisoned there but they are forbidden from seeing each other. Between all the miseries that take place in the Nazi death camp, a love story of sorts also occurs.

There is something chilling about this women in unifom with a totenkopf (death's head) patch on her cap. Liza looks the other way occasuionaly and lets the lovers enjoy a few moments together but the fact that Marta remains defiant only outrages her. Although there are a few instances where Liza shows kindness, she also enjoys playing god in which she gives succor in one instance and brings torment the next. If looks could kill Liza would be lethal.

Passenger has more than a few unforgettable scenes. One that stands out for me is when international inspectors come to the camp to see how the prisoners are treated. Marta is chosen as a detainee that they will interview but she can hardly say a word to their questions knowing they will not be able to change her situation. Furthermore, another scene shows an orchestra of prisoners playing beautiful music while the other prisoners are slopping in the mud; there is something ironic and strange at these images that show such contrasts between the neatly dressed guards and their prisoners who are treated so inhumanely.

Passenger is Andrzej Munk's last film, who died in a car accident before it was completed. Witold Lesiewicz completed the project using what was available and a few parts show only still photos, which give the movie the feeling of looking through a photo album, while he narrates what was probably intended in these parts. As powerful as the movie stands now there is a little part of me that grieves the fact that if Munk lived to finish this film it would have been even better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short Sharp Shocker..., 5 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Passenger [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
Shocker....yes...not in the crazy paving torture-porn madness of the Noughties but as in a subtle shock to the system, a very sharp, knife in the ribs to wake you up on another easy western morning.

Polish director Andrzej Munk died while filming this moody,impressive and enthralling tale of the holocaust. The film eventually released is a mix of filmed scenes, still-shots and what if's?.

I wont spoil the plot but the film shows two different sides of the same story involving a SS female camp guard and a polish inmate. The camera seems to observe not question the dark days of Central Europe , where the camp system spelt death and dehumanization for millions of Slavs,Jews,Homosexuals and Gypsies.

There is very little torture-porn or sadistic lingering camera shots to please the modern voyuer,thank god, this is a thinking film, a film of space between dialogue and of thoughts between action.

Second Run have an amazing catalogue of films from Eastern Europe between 1950-1990, i recommend checking their website out and exploring their titles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Sept. 2014
By 
V. streymoy (The Faroe Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Passenger [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
Awesome film, I really enjoyed it. Quick delivery and the item was in perfect condition.
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3.0 out of 5 stars historically accurate with good costumes., 27 Sept. 2014
By 
Chris Green (Nottinghamshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Passenger [1961] [DVD] (DVD)
A bit of a let down and difficult to follow; historically accurate with good costumes.
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Passenger [1961] [DVD]
Passenger [1961] [DVD] by Andrzej Munk (DVD - 2006)
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