Women in Film During the World War II


September 1st, 2019 will mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Poland. Honoring this historical event, Polish Filmmakers NYC would like to screen movies about World War II. Specifically concentrating on the feminist role during the war. Women played important roles during World War II, both at home and in uniform. Not only did they give their sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers to the war effort, they gave their time, energy, and some even gave their lives. Women in World War II became involved in many tasks they rarely had before; as the war involved global conflict on an unprecedented scale, the absolute urgency of mobilizing the entire population made the expansion of the role of women inevitable.

Rounding up the most critically acclaimed war movies were based on male main character. World War II movies are inherently masculine, often having little time for female characters. A number of movies have chosen to focus on the frontline soldier’s who was fighting with the Nazism. The majority of women who do appear are usually resigned to the wives, mothers, lovers or nurses. This isn’t to diminish the incredible value of the women on the home front and their vital contribution to the war effort, but according to the movies, when it comes to nitty-gritty stuff, women simply weren’t in the picture.

The movies which we have chosen for our project shown a great example of the women struggle during the WWII:

  • Rose (Polish: Roza) is 2011 film directed by Wojciech Smarzowski. 
  • Passenger (Polish: Pasazerka) is 1963 Polish directed film by Andrzej Munk.
  • The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler (Polish: Dzieci Ireny Sendlerowej) is a 2009 film directed by John Kent. 
  • Katyn (Polish: Katyn) is 2007 film directed by Andrzej Wajda. 
  • Sophie’s Choice (Polish: Wybor Zofii) is a 1982 American Drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula.
  • The Last Stage (Ostatni etap) is a 1947 War-Drama film directed by Wanda Jakubowska, co-written by Wanda Jakubowska.
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife is a 2017 War-Drama directed by Niki Caro, written by Angela Workman and based on Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book of the same name.

These films show the different way women joined the war effort often away from the home front. The Polish Filmmakers NYC seeks support for developing and implementing a cultural program that would bring the most accomplished Polish cinema artists, including directors, actors, screen writes, to American audiences and movie experts. The next and most extensive project we are currently developing focuses on the profiling women in the movies from the WWII era.