Quo vadis

2001 [POLISH]

Drama / History / Romance

IMDb Rating 5.7/10 10 2298 2.3K

Top cast

Leszek Lichota as Senator
1.39 GB
Polish 2.0
25 fps
2 hr 40 min
Seeds 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by muchmalignedmonster 5 / 10

A truly waste of money, theirs and mine

After seeing again Mervyn LeRoy 1951's version of the novel, still memorable in many respects, I venture to watch Kawalerowicz's more recent and supposedly expensive polish film last night. Well man... the movie cannot be more horrible. It's in fact no more than a "TV quality ancient story film", maybe a little worse (oh) thanks to the bad acting ("special" mention to Michal Bajor as Nero), indifferent scenario and horrid direction (could this man be the same who directed long ago the pretentious, but interesting Pharaoh?). A truly waste of money, theirs and mine. And yet, all this said, the movie is redeemed and still watchable mainly for one reason: Rafal Kubacki, proud of showing us the power of a beard and an hairy chest… Not an actor, but a very fine specimen indeed.

Reviewed by ma-cortes 7 / 10

Awesome version of classic novel as spectacular as the original

During 63 a.d. Roman , a prefect official named Marco Vinicio returns from war and he get home his uncle Petronio , friend of emperor Nero . Vinicio confesses him he is enamored Ligia , a mysterious and virginal young whom has known in the Aulus Paucius's home . Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia in Rome and falls in love . But she is Christian and doesn't want anything to do with him . In a party Vinicio tries to utilize to Lygia but she is helped by Ursus who carries her at a place of Christ's supporters . Later on , Christians are accused of burning ancient Rome . Vinicio risks his life to save his lover .

The motion picture is a larger than life production upon Nero and the Christians persecutions with lots of crowd scenes . It's realized on a giant scale with moving fighting scenes , dramatic scenes , spectacular sequences and bloody gladiator combats in the arena and lions attacks and Christian martyr . Depraved emperor want to get rid and he orders use like meat for lions and burn them on stakes . The Polish cinema's first great financial success but with unknown actors for general public although allegedly are famous in Poland . The picture is profitable by public tendency for ¨sword and sandals¨ genre re-initiated by ¨Gladiator¨ . The film is a definitive version of the classic novel by the Polish Henryk Sienkiewicz (Nobel prize winner) . Special mention to enjoyable music score by Jan Kaczmarek (Oscar winner for ¨Finding Neverland¨). The movie obtained three ¨Eagle Award¨, the greatest prize of Polish cinema , to the best gowns , production design and support cast. The motion picture was well directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz (Pharaoh) . Rating : Good and entertaining.

Reviewed by marcin_kukuczka 7 / 10

Valuable as Faithful Adaptation, Flawed as Epic Movie

MGM Roman epic QUO VADIS? (1951) has remained one of the top movies among epic buffs. However, its popularity is not so much raised by its source novel but rather by its grandeur of colossal spectacle and magnificent performances. Therefore, after more than 50 years, the movie is still highly entertaining.

But a thought may arise...the Noble Prize winning novel QUO VADIS? is not only a historical account of the Rome in Nero's cruel reign but, foremost, a truly insightful, human and thought provoking novel by a great Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz, the novel that masterfully develops human struggles within the corrupted world ruled by an artist, a cynic, a debaucher, an arsonist, a "beast." That thought absorbed the late director, a Pole Jerzy Kawalerowicz, who, in 2000, took up a task to adapt QUO VADIS? for the screen again. As I have seen both the movie and the TV series, my comment will apply to both of them and will hopefully result in a detailed analysis.

I would like to analyze this movie in two separate aspects: first, its depiction of historical period, its recreation of the first century Rome (epic features including wardrobe, sets, etc) and, second, its faithfulness to the novel.

Kawalerowicz's vision of Rome turns out to be much weaker than LeRoy's in 1951 film. It is short of that lavishness, scenes of crowds, magnificent wardrobe and that tension of splendor. The Roman Empire appears to be "closed up" and laconic. Consider, for instance, the burning of Rome which is condensed, hardly shows the event realistically being a glimpse on the seemingly small group of people in panic. Nero does not sing playing his harp while viewing the burning city from his balcony but he sings on an aqueduct in the middle of a sunny day. The palace occurs to be deprived of that grandiosity we found at LeRoy's. These flaws go in pairs with some technical weaknesses. Let me mention, for instance, the famous bullfight where Lygia is tied naked to the bull but Ursus appears to keep control over the animal from the very beginning. The bull barely moves and people's reactions are fake. Therefore, the movie faced strong criticism and, indeed, if we consider QUO VADIS? in terms of its recreation of Rome only, it is a flawed epic.

However... The movie is a very faithful adaptation of the novel and catches the gist of what Sienkiewicz wanted to convey. First, this has to do with the characters. The director develops Chilo Chilonides (Jerzy Trela) the character that was almost skipped in the American version. The story of this man who is once ironically called "the king of the state of wickedness" is so psychological that the entire movie about him would suffice for a meaningful story. His character indeed makes one find forgiveness meaningful and conscience universal. Chilo is beautifully portrayed by Jerzy Trela in a magnificent performance. In Nero's court, we have an accurate insight into "Nero's evil spirit" Tigellinus (Krzysztof Majchrzak) who prompts most crimes of the mad emperor. The depiction of Christian characters is also very accurate. What strikes us among Christians is the living example they give to the pagans and thanks to that example, they convert many people. In this respect, I would like to mention the arena scene - this movie really supplies the viewer with the gore of it, the camera goes in between the martyrs and you as an observer are really affected by the depiction. What touched me most is the baby consumed by a lion while the whole crowd is being mute to this tragedy as if it were totally unnoticed. The movie also depicts the arbiter of elegance, Petronius (Boguslaw Linda), as a witness of dying Christians (in accordance with the novel). That is what I like most about 2001 QUO VADIS? It makes use of the themes developed in the novel.

As far as the performances are concerned, there is a great acting and a poor acting. The leading cast Pawel Delag as Marcus Vinicius and Malgorzata Mielcarz as Lygia are good though Delag sometimes leaves much to be desired. He, unlike Robert Taylor, does not clearly portray his character's glorious way from the triumph of conquest to the triumph of spirit. He appears to be very sympathetic from the beginning, no proud Roman leader at first and a devoted believer later. Michal Bajor is not very good as Nero but it is not the looks that make his performance flawed but his talk. I liked Boguslaw Linda's portrayal of Petronius and Krzysztof Majchrzak's Tigellinus. Except for the aforementioned Trela, Franciszek Pieczka does a fine job as Apostle Peter, a calm hearted fisherman of Galilee who once left his barge and gave his total self to the Lord.

Finally, I would like to add one more feature of the film: its ability to talk to viewers' hearts. Unlike many epics that draw our attention rather to the spectacle, this movie gives us an insight into particular moment of the human history at the dawn of the new faith. It seems to ask a viewer a question of importance: What is it to be a person? Is it possible that one human feasts and laughs watching lustfully the other one dying in horrific pain? Is the world really mute to the moving cry of a little baby consumed by the beast of hatred, political correctness or indifference?

"Quo Vadis Domine?" "Whither Goest Thou, Lord?" Peter asked Christ on the way. He heard the answer "To Rome, to be crucified the second time" The memorable question that appears at the end of the movie seems to be the question of many people of our times: "Where are you going, Lord?" people who subtly predict the answer in their hearts: "To the innocent who constantly suffer most"

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