Warsaw Uprising Documentary as ‘Found Footage’

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, in which the Polish city bravely fought off its German army occupiers in Aug./Sept. of 1944, director Jan Komasa (Suicide Room) has made a unique documentary utilizing six hours of footage from a Polish camera crew that has been secretly collected throughout Europe.  It’s been colorized and audio constructed to make it more relatable as a “found footage” narrative. The Oscar-contending Warsaw Uprising (Opus Films), produced by the Warsaw Uprising Museum, is currently playing in select theaters.

Insurgents appear on screen too briefly, which sparked the idea of having the protagonist be the cinematographer who shot the footage.  Orka Studio did initial color correction, stabilization, dirt removal. Coloring was done with a unique software made in the U.S. and operator Piotr Sobociński Jr. served as color grading supervisor.

“The museum wanted something unique and when I saw the material I thought maybe the story is as simple as we hear all the time from the war front,” explains Komasa. “Somehow the conflict would be that they don’t allow him to shoot real war, which is nasty and dirty. And truly only a small percentage of the footage was of the victims.  And the rest of the material was partly staged showing regular lives behind the front lines.

“But this is something that not only had to appeal to contemporary young people, but people who live in this [superhero] pop culture of storytelling. We demystified the Warsaw Uprising, and I had to put the pill inside of a cake and after you eat it, I hope you will understand it more. It was a journey into a different universe and you witness a dying world, a civilization which is being destroyed, but a city just like any other.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Movies, Tech, Trailers

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