|Richard Brzostek - 08/11/2006
"Austeria" is a story of the lives of many people on the first day of World War I. With the outbreak of war, chaos erupts and spreads like wildfire. Most of characters in the movie are Jewish and we get to see a glimpse of their customs and traditions in this memorable film. "Austeria" captures an intense feeling of chaos, confusion, and fear that people undoubtedly felt in 1914 with the outbreak of the world war.
The main character of the film is the Jewish innkeeper named Tag (as played by Franciszek Pieczka). Tag has his daughter and granddaughter living with him at the inn, as well as a young woman that lives in a barn. The young woman is sort of a mistress to Tag and adds the sensual/provocative flair to the film.
Being near the border in Galicia, an area controlled by the Austrians, the fighting between the Cossacks and Hungarian hussars is a stone throw away. Others encourage Tag to leave, but he doesn't. In fact, some of those that tell him to leave end up coming back to his inn as fleeing didn't turn out to be much use, as there was no where safe to run. I find Pieczka to be a likeable guy, with his combination of serious and sage-like expressions that are always a treat.
One feature that makes "Austeria" interesting is that it has a complex interplay of various characters, with most of the story occurring within a short amount of time. Tag's inn becomes full of an assortment of characters as the day progresses, including a Hungarian hussar and many Jews both young and old. With such an assorted bunch at the inn, there is perhaps just as much chaos inside the inn as there is outside with the war raging. With so much going on, the emotions and suspense flow freely. "Austeria" is amazing in that it provide us an emotional glimpse of the outbreak of war and how various people may react to that
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