Kanal (1957) Script



Late September.

The Warsaw Uprising is nearing its tragic finale.

Long have fallen the Old Town, Powiśle, Czerniaków and Sadyba.

Down town, Żoliborz and Mokotów cut off and encircled by German forces, are in flames.

This company now numbers 43.

Three days ago there were 70.

This is their commanding officer.

Lieutenant "Splinter".

He recruited these men, they're his responsibility.

His second-in-command, Lieutenant "Wise".

He instilled iron-clad military principles.

The messenger girl, Halinka.

She promised her mother to keep warm.

They all promised that.

All mothers are the same.

Sergeant "Bullet".

Perfect hand-writing, carries all records in his case.

Officer Cadet "Ark", wishes for a bath.

But the 3rd Platoon has bigger troubles.

"Slim", Ark's aide, wants to build planes after the war.

Finally, the "Artist".

Not a soldier.

Joined yesterday.

These are the tragic heroes.

Take a good look.

These are their last hours.


Hi Splinter, right on time.

What? Were you hit?

By a strong wind.

What's the situation? Look.

The Stukas came.

The Germans bombed three times.

It's good they sleep at night. No fun time here tomorrow.

Maybe a fun death.

We'll try to live here for a while.

I'd like to stay here, too.

What, until Judgement Day?

Future generations will worship us.

They won't take us alive.

You bet. The Polish way.

What's wrong?

You're always so strong.

I've had enough, understand?

What am I to tell my men?

They trust me.

You're soft. No time to think here.

Bartek almost ran away today.

As if he had somewhere to go.

It's getting crowded.

They want to finish Mokotów, start with down town.

Damn, I can't believe it's the 56th day.

It's hell.

That's always an option.


How are you?

We know each other.

You gave them to me on day one.

Do they fit? Sure.

To think they can pull them off my corpse.

But I see you joined the Uprising. What did mom say?

She's dead.

Is your wound bad?

No, it's nothing.

It's too bad that you...

Is there a phone anywhere nearby?

There will be.

Can I call Rakowiecka street?

Are you crazy? The Germans are there.

I know, but... I live there.

Please let me call, OK?

Go see the commander.

That way?

Living in Warsaw was nice!

A bourgeois living room. Terrible.

Pistols and hand grenades against tanks and airplanes.

When are we ever going to learn? Orders are orders.

Ark! Sir?

Put out sensors, send out a patrol. Yes, sir.

I need six volunteers.

Yes, sir! Yes, sir!

I have a special assignment for you.

Hold on.

You're a composer? Yes.

Play something nice.

But... Come on.

Christ, a Bechstein!

Take that God damned thing off.

La Comparsita would be best.

I dreamt of you today, Halinka.

We were dancing a tango and...

Well? What's new?

Please, Lieutenant.

You promised me a gun.

Don't want to be unarmed.

Everyone's got something.

So tiny? I was hoping for a Luger.

It would knock you off your feet.

This is perfect.

You can kill from two metres.

Stop that noise. Play something... from the heart.

I could get you a real gun.

Not this cap gun.

Cap gun?

Yours is an antique.

Is everything clear? Yes, sir.

Don't go crazy.


Can I call home, Rakowiecka street?

My family should be there.

Can I use this?

Just ask them to connect with 4-02-18.

All right, hold on. Let's give it a try.

This is Splinter. Are you alive? We have no windows?

You have no windows? I forgot what they look like.

You're lucky to have a roof. Can you put me through to 4-02-18? The German side. Rakowiecka.

None there. We want to check.

I'll try. Okay, I'll wait.

He says there's no one there any more.




It's me, Michał. Michał.

How are you?

I've been looking for you. Where are you?

Well... the resistance.

I joined a platoon.

Is the Uprising still there?

I don't know how, but it's there. What about you?

They're in here. Evacuating?

No. They make people go to the basement and burn...

Jesus Christ...

Here's your girl. Daddy? zosia.

It's me, daddy.

Come back quick.

Why are they shooting? Zosia.

They're coming for us.

Wanda... hello?


She hung up.

All sensors in place. Thank you.


What am I supposed to do now?

Go get rest.

Get ready for supper!

Halinka, let's find a place to sleep.


I hereby report.

No records of Ark's platoon.

Don't bother me with your records.

It's starting soon. But...

We must keep records.

There will be fallen.

There will be.

I'm sure.

But stop bothering me now!


Can you see anything?


The potato sellers have just left.

Who knows if the potatoes... will be of any use.

If any more Stukas come, this ruin is done.

Are you ready, Ark?

They'll begin before eight.

I'm shaving then.

I have ten ammo clips.

How old are you, Ark?


Life doesn't seem so precious when you're 23.

These are the final days.

I know. We'll make them bleed first.

Is Daisy back yet?

What's wrong?

Nothing. Can you use that?


Are you crazy?

That's simple.


I'm going. Germans are finishing breakfast.

What are you playing?

It's out of tune. Too many musicians here.

I'm going.

Just don't go crazy.

Pity to lose an artist.

What do you know?

Ups, sorry.

No worries. Come in. What's this about?

You could get up.

No time for this. Watch it.

Actually, it's time.

High time.

We're in love.

And how's Daisy?

Jacek, I'm here.

I don't stink, do I?

Stop wandering the canals.

You were supposed to be back yesterday.

Were you worried?

I stopped worrying long ago, Splinter asked about you.

You jealous?


Forget it!

But you spare no one.

I'm not doing anything. I smiled at Splinter and everyone.


It looked as if you had a soft spot for him.

That's just the way I am.

That's wrong.

You should've stayed down town, you've got... plenty of friends there.

They're going to finish us.

I know.

Look at what I brought you.

Real English tea and cigarettes.

You know I don't smoke?

Where did you get that?

From my aunt.

Your aunt...

Jacek, I came back just for you.


Interesting. Why?

Well, why? Why?

Because I'm your messenger.

You know the main attack will be here?

Stop shaving, will you.

Wash up, you stink.

You sunbathed in the nude?

I spent all of July in Zalesie.

I came back to Warsaw on August 1st.

Did you stay at your aunt in Zalesie?

It's starting.

Get the hell out of here! You're stupid.

Hit it!

Left machine gun, fire lower!

Look out!


Bartek! Bartek! Both phones are dead, they'll come from the back.

Zephyr! Yes!

Go to H.Q. Explain that we're holding but the Germans are near Bartek.

We need a counter attack or we're cut off. Go!

Did you get that? Yes.

Junk! Useless pipe!

They'll get us in ten minutes.


Won't stop them with bare hands! Bloody hell!

That's the last one, Slim...

He hit them!

Slim hit them!

A Goliath...

Stop that... I'm all right.

Keep still.

You're alright?

I'm glad you're okay.

What's happening?

What about the platoon?

What are they waiting for?

Is Zephyr back?


They surrounded us.

How's Ark?

He'll live.

They wasted my men.

Don't get sentimental.

The silence is ringing in my ears.

It's a short pause.

They're scheming how to get us.

The front didn't work, they'll try at the back.

Now is a good time to withdraw, sir.

You never smoked before.



This war is eating through us.

Not me. I've been smoking since I was a kid.

When did you join the resistance?

In July of 1941.

Any medals?

The Cross of Valour for an attack on Blank...

For an attack on Blank Palace.

Wounded in the chest on the right side, on 26 September, 1944.

Any next of kin in case of death?

Thank you.

They found a way.

I don't understand...

I've changed my mind. I won't build planes after the war.



The Game is looking for you. Something happened.

Sir! The company is in the Red House. Hello, Splinter.

Lead us, zephyr.


12 dead. 10 critically wounded.

You'll leave at dusk.

We're going down town.

What? How? Which way?

Sewer canals.

I'm not going.

Are you crazy?

Only a few streets left. They'll finish us off tomorrow.

I'm not going.

All that blood that was shed, just so that we can run away like rats?

The sewers?

How can I look them in the face?

It's an order, Splinter.

Screw your orders!

You're a bloody civilian.

You don't want to rescue your men?

They believed me.

We all believed someone.

Here's your pass.

To the canals.

Take care, Splinter.

Gentlemen, why is it so quiet in here?

Play the gramophone.

Stop that.

Stop that.

Should play an entire symphony.

Here, you try.

On this thing?


Listen up, kids.

Good news. Reinforcements?

We're going down town.

Through the sewers.


We're leaving?

We can't hold Mokotów.

Only a few streets left.

They'll crush us. Hear that?

We were crammed here for nothing!

It's an order from headquarters.


Blank. I'm making hollow sounds.

Don't drink any more, please.

I'm an impotent, understand?

A labourer.

That's the real tragedy.

Don't drink. I'm glad this misery is ending.

Give it to me. I want some, too.

The handsome soldier loves you, right?

Is he your first?

I feel we won't make it through this night.

It's easier to die when you're in love.



Don't get carried away.

Make room for the company commander!

Drink Splinter. You're mad.

You too, Halinka?

I'm not drinking, listening to music.

Music? Now you want music?

And you're playing!

It's the last time.

Drink, Splinter.

It'll be easier to cross the sewers.

This is your discipline?

Hold the fort until the end.

Only drunk.

It's a long way to down town.

Plenty of time to sober up.

And then what?

We'll keep on fighting.


They'll crush us like bugs.

This city is done.

Shut up! Can't you die like a man?

Only now I know how to die.

Company muster call. Yes, sir.

But now it's a platoon, not a company.

Don't you dare to fart once we start.

Quiet like in a family tomb.

Otherwise, Germans will end us.

You afraid?

Come to me, I'll hold your hand.

Come on, cheer up!

Old geezers.


The company is ready to depart.

Two officers, five deputies and twenty shooters.

That's not a muster call.

Thank you.

Thank you. At ease!

Forward march!

Can you make it, Ark?

Sure. Give it to me.

Let me try, I'm not risking much.

He needs two strong men.

I'll guide him, don't worry.

You come with me.

You'll show us the way.

It's easy.

Please, let me go with him.

Wise, don't fire until we cross.

Tiger tanks.

This is the last barricade.

Get in the sewers, friend. Lieutenant...

I report it's our turn... Report respectfully into the hole.

You little...

Sir, have you seen my daughter? She's blonde...

Let's go! Gentlemen, wait! Please wait!

She is blonde and tall in a brown coat.

Brown coat, brown coat.


Have mercy!

Don't leave us! Don't leave us!

Don't go! Don't go!

What happened? Crap!

Oh, God, the acoustics is amazing!

"A land of heavy dreams and shadows."

Stop chatting and move on, Maestro! Quiet!

No talking! I'm too tall for... God damn it.

You're lucky, Halinka.

Gas! Gas!

Go on! No! No! Gas!

Germans! Gas!

Wise, let's turn back. There's gas.

Germans must be up there already.

We have to catch up with the company.


Germans have released gas!

That way back?

I think so.

But who knows? All sewers look alike!

I'm from the Old Town.

I've had enough of canals and this stupid game of hide-and-seek!

Go back, there's gas!

Where are you going?


My head's spinning.

It must be the gas.

It's the fever.

There's no gas here.

We're never going to catch up.

Maybe we should call Michał?

There's no need.

I know this sewer.

It's an easy way.

We'll make it step by step.

I'm going to rest.

Keep going, damn it!

Let's go.

You'll rest at home.


Who still has a home?

You're really strong.

Like a labourer.

I've never been a labourer.

I know nothing about you.

We fought in the resistance together.

I know that, but...

Should I tell you the story of my life?

Is it long?

Longer than this sewer.

Keep walking.



What's that?


Is it a lamp at the crossing?

Maybe the Germans?

They wouldn't come down here.

You think?


Jacek, it's just a candle.

This is the first barricade.

You can rest.

Help me carry a wounded man! Be quiet.

What are you staring at?

Quiet! Germans above!

Quiet, motherfucker!

It's seven already.

The sun is up.

Get Lieutenant Wise.

Wise, report to Splinter.

Wise, report to Splinter.

Wise, report to Splinter.


Jesus Christ...

It'll be difficult to maintain discipline here.

But we must.

What are we doing?

Let's wait for Wise.

We can't leave them behind.

Damned matches!

It's not the matches, sir.

Too many feet stirred this crap. Fumes are released.

This is killing us, not the grenades.

I know chemistry a bit.

Do you feel dizzy?


But there's no oxygen in the air.

Let's get out of here.

Well, Lieutenant?

Do we let the men die like this?

Is it my fault?

Why isn't Wise here, yet?

Call him!

Don't sit down!

It's worse near the water.

You won't be able to get up.

I can't. I feel sick.

Let's go, Lieutenant.

We can't stay here.

I'll go.

I'll call them.

Wise says we should continue.

They stopped so that Ark could rest.

Daisy knows the way.

They'll catch up with us.

Let's go.

Let's go, guys.

Slow down, Wise. Faster!

Splinter is probably out on Aleje Street by now.

Give me the flask.

You'll get weaker. Give it!

You want some?

Sure. It's cold. I'm tired.

Enough already.

It's the Waters of Lethe.

River of Oblivion.

It's just moonshine. Picks you up, doesn't it?

Did you hear these sounds?

Come on Artist, hurry!

Jesus! What is that?



Are you okay, Halinka?


Where are you? Where's my child? Shut up, damned woman!

You sold us out! Murderers!

What are you doing?

Open it!

Open it!

Let me through! Marian!

Let me through! I'll open it.

"Thither we came, and thence down in the moat I saw a people smothered in a filth That out of human privies seemed to flow"

What are you saying? It's not me, it's Dante.

I can't open it!

Get down here at once!

You'll draw the Germans' attention!


Wise. Let's save us! I'm scared. Stop whining!

Think don't want to? Let's go back.

You look bad, Jacek.

You can shave when we're out.

I don't care.

You must be very ill.

What's that?


That's rain.


Don't cry, child.


Don't you hear...

Everything 's singing.

Yeah, you're seeing angels?

Get up! Get moving! Quiet!

Can you hear it?

Nonsense! It's just the water!

I hear it.

I can finally hear it.

You know?

I hear.

Shut up! Damn you!

What's with you?

Are you mad!

Funny little man.

You can't understand.

Come back! Don't be an idiot!

Stop, or I'll shoot!

Come back, it's an order!


Why am I so weak?

We won't reach down town.

There's no way.

The sewer has to end somewhere!

Let's go.

What is that?

Probably a wounded man.

Could that really be a human voice?

Let's go.

Sir, we can't make anything out of these noises.

I'll go look. Wait here.

I found your noise-maker.

A man.

Let's get out of here, sir.

I know him.

It's the Colonel from Headquarters.

Which one will carry him?

What's wrong?

Forward march!

Where do we turn?

There should be a sign for Wilcza street here, on the left.

We should have brought Daisy.

She knows the way.

Daisy is helping Ark... and we know how to read.

I can't take this, Lieutenant.

Let get out or we'll stay here forever.

There are no signs.

Call the men, Bullet.

Yes, sir!


Get up!

The Lieutenant is waiting!

Go on ahead.

Wait a moment.

I'm weak.

We'll rest for a bit.


There should be... a sign here... Wilcza.


No. There's no sign.

Well? They're coming.

Hold on to me, Splinter.

I've had enough of this.

Just keep moving your legs.

Daisy... aren't you tired?

Why should I be tired?

I'm not wounded.

It's calm and misty.

We're walking through a dark and fragrant forest.

We're stumbling through stinking shit.

You're always down to earth.


You could never fall in love.

Keep moving your legs, or we'll be here for days.

You have a fever, and we'll die of hunger.

What's wrong?

My heart...

What's that?

He was old.

He probably died during the gas panic.

Stupid people, first time in the sewers.


I see nothing.

There it is! The sign!

I... love... Jacek.

Oh, God.

My head's spinning.

I think there's gas here.

Look at the fog.

You're a child.

It's the fever talking.


Our sewer.



I wouldn't have noticed it.

I can barely see.

Let's go up there.

Give me your hand.

Your hand...

Hold on to me! Jacek!

I can't go up that pipe!

I can't reach it.

Go by yourself.

You idiot!

You can't pull me up.

You should go and get help.

I'll just rest here and wait.

Look there's a sign over there.

Large letters...

I love...

We have to save the batteries.

There's a sign there.

What does it say?

I love...


Who could have written such nonsense?

It's not nonsense.

An empty sewer.

Germans high above. It's fear, you know?

You wrote it.

And felt better.

I used to walk here, too.

And what did you write?

Kiss my ass...

What? And things like that.

And who's... this Janek?

A guy that some girl loved.

Loved him a lot?

A lot.

A lot, Jacek.

Come on, let's go.


We can't go up.

I'll rest and wait here.

You'll come back with help, right?

Get up!


I must have imagined it...

I'm so dizzy now.

I can hear music.

Must be the fever...

Wait, I can really hear it.

Who was that?

Is he crazy, or am I?

He is! Remember?

I don't remember anything.




Come back!


He can't hear anything.


Stop whining... and let's go!

I won't make it up there, but I want to live.

That's good.

Don't worry, you'll live.

We'll go straight.

This ends up at Vistula river soon.

It's dry here.

There's an exit nearby.

Turn on the flash light.

The battery's almost dead.

We'll get there anyway.

That's impossible.

I have no strength left.

We'll never get out.

It's over. Over?

It can't be over!

I have someone to live for!

I'm right here.

Who do you live for? What? I have a wife and a child!

A wife and a child?

It's funny, you never mentioned.

You never wore a wedding ring.

What? I have it on me.



I have to live.

Let's go back. We'll go up.

Hurry, while I'm still on my feet.

Hold on.

Turn off the light, Wise.

Get up!


I need to sit down.


I have to.

I have to rest.

Jacek, we'll be at the river soon.


I can't open my eyes.

It hurts.

Then don't.

It's the fever.

You'll stay at the hospital.

Where's this hospital?

You think... there's no more life out there?

No more...




I promised you that.

I was so rude to you...

We'll talk about that later.

I've been bad.

I can see the light.

We're going to live.

Don't open your eyes. It's bright.

Is it much further?

I see water.

And green grass.

Let's go there.


You can rest now.

We'll go to the grass soon.


Don't open your eyes because...

Because the sun's come out.

Hands up!

Give the wedding ring.

Come out!

Slim, throw that damned gun away. People have to move out.

You're killing yourself. I'm stunned, damn.

Throw it away. Let's get some air.

And fast. Get lost!


Air, sir!

We're going to the inlet. Tell the men, Bullet.

The inlet.

We're turning left, guys.

Going to the inlet.

They're coming, Lieutenant.

They're coming.

No way.

It's blocked.

We're turning back.

We've got the strength.

I have to get my men out!


Sir, we have to get some air.

It's death back there.

They've hung grenades, bastards.



One more, and we're on our way.

Let's go, sir.

Let's go, sir.

Thank you, Holy Mother...


Where are we?

Why aren't they coming out?

Call them, Bullet.

We're safe.

We're out!

Let's go, sir.

Bullet, call them. They could have walked too far.

They... stayed behind a long time ago.

I only pretended they were behind us.

You bastard!

What about my company!

They're still there?!

My company...

My company...

My company...