The Last Stage (Polish: Ostatni Etap) is a 1947 feature film directed and co-written by Poland's first female filmmaker Wanda Jakubowska, depicting her experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
Plot: A Jewish family from Poland, the Weisses, is sent to Auschwitz where the daughter, Martha, is selected to be an interpreter. The rest of her family is cruelly killed, and Martha and the other Poles must struggle under the tyranny of camp guards and capos.
Stars: Tatjana Gorecka, Antonina Gordon-Górecka, Barbara Drapinska, Aleksandra Slaska, Edward Dziewonski. The film won the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1948, and it was nominated for Grand International Award at Venice Film Festival in 1948 and for a BAFTA Award for Best Film from Any Source in 1950.
The Last Stage was a pioneering work and the first narrative film to portray the Nazi concentration and extermination camp complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau, an important and historic film that deserves to be reproduced better, but still well worth seeing. Last Stage was made just two years after WWII had ended.
Amazingly it was filmed in Auschwitz and the Polish actor and actresses actually sleep in the barracks while the movie was being filmed and wore the actual prison uniforms that had been sanitized but still were stained with blood, etc.
There is a book about the film by Marek Haltof, a professor at Northern Michigan University, who has published several books in English and Polish on the cultural histories of Central European and Australian film: "Screening Auschwitz: Wanda Jakubowska's The Last Stage and the Politics of Commemoration (Cultural Expressions)"
Film hosts for the evening: Linda and Bruce. The film (1h 50 min) is in Polish, with English subtitles, at Polish Home upstairs, Friday, January 18, 7:30 pm.