Wartime Portraits – Season 1 (2014)

Documentary

Part live-action and part animation, this visually inventive series offers striking portrayals of some of the unsung heroes of World War II. Each of its five animated episodes is dedicated to a Polish soldier who led a heroic battle against the Nazi forces of the Third Reich, namely Jan Zumbach, Bronisław Hellwig, Zdzisław Pacak-Kuźmirski, Józef Beck and Jan Gruziński. The documentary series was created by three young Polish directors – Tomasz Matuszczak, Rafał Skalski and Cezary Ibera. Their goal was to present war stories from an accessible and humanised perspective. When Rafal Skalski describes Zdzisław Pacak-Kuźmirskim’s daring escape from the German POW camp Oflag II C Woldenberg, he emphasises his bravery, but also his orneriness. Similarly, when Cezary Ibera retells the story of Jan Zumbach – commander of the legendary 303 Squadron – he does not gloss over his womanising and thrill-seeking tendencies.