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Foreign Comedy - Poland - Legacy of Steel / Szabla del Komendanta

Legacy of Steel / Szabla od Komendanta
Bronislaw Pawlik, Franciszek Pieczka
Written and directed by Jan Jakub Kolski
Polish with English Subtitles
Poland 1996
Facets Video 2006
101 minutes

Legacy of Steel or Szabla od Komendanta is another weird Polish comedy by director Jan Jakub Kolski (Johnny Aquarius). If you like your comedy movie with an unusual twist or two or like to see how other countries do comedy films, Legacy of Steel / Szabla del Komendanta is right up your alley. Jan Jakub Kolski writes and directs another excellent movie that hides a few philosophical bits behind some very quirky characters, magic realism, and just very funny scenes. This is another very good foreign film from Facets Video and another good looking release.

Legacy of Steel Szabla od Komendanta stars Bronislaw Pawlik as Jakubek, an old Polish farmer who is more than ready to meet his maker but especially eager to meet an old flame, Hanka, who has been waiting for him in paradise for some fifty years. Jakubek does die and is happy to see Hanka is waiting for him in heaven. Unfortunately, he cannot enter until he fulfills the promise made to his commandant to leave his regimental sword to his grandson, his still unborn and not even a twinkle in his still bachelor future father's eye.

What makes this Polish comedy special is how writer and director Jan Jakub Kolski can go from very broad and sometimes bawdy humor to subtle jokes only an attentive viewer will enjoy. The movie opens with Jakubek going to his outhouse and that scene alone is very funny. The bit where the old man is sitting outside with his three army buddies discussing his plight and finding a match for his son Janek is a visual comedy treat: they are sitting next to a big wall hanging with kittens on it, are all dressed alike and holding kittens themselves, and are discussing the son's potential mate as if she were a mare.

Although it is the school teacher and Janek who are an obvious match made for the old man's heaven, the old man has his eyes set on the village blacksmith's girlfriend. He and his former comrades in arms plot to get the blacksmith out of the way which leads to some funny slapstick comedy.

Other quirks in the movie include the old man being able to grow apples as big as pumpkin and his son's endeavour to create as gigantic a plum that tastes like a plum and not a pear. As soon as the village school teacher comes to visit him, she gets knocked out by one of the giant plums.

Legacy of Steel / Szabla od Komendanta is a very different and funny comedy.

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