In a Polish city, Lwow, during the Nazi-invasion, we follow Michal, a man who has lost his family and is returning to Lwow. Being chased, he accidently gets a man who looks similar to him shot, and continues to escape; ending up in the same room as a pregnant woman who's husband just got shot by the Nazis. It turns out that this woman also resembles his own dead wife, which throws him into a battle of emotions.
"The Third Part of the Night" is a hard movie to get into. It throws you into a story and Andrzej Zulawski makes little effort to have it explained to you. You'll either get into it early on or end up struggling to care. I was somewhere in the middle. Don't get me wrong, the film is packed with emotions and being such a bleak movie overall, I'd lie if I say I wasn't intrigued. However, it is still a film outside of my usual film interest and it shouldn't be ignored that I sometimes let my mind slip away into thinking about other things. It only goes to show that if this movie isn't for you, you won't experience quite the same things as the fan of such cinema do.
From what I gathered, the film follows a man named Michal who has seen his family get killed, and is now on the run and tries becoming part of the resistance, which consists of a research facility where they use men to feed lice, in an attempt to breed typhus, only to then use them for the vaccine. As he escapes the Nazi-soldiers, he is accidently part of a mix-up that gets a different man, who looks much like him, shot. He is then fleeing into a room where the wife of the man who looked like him is just about to give birth; a birth he is forced to help out with. As he looks at the woman, he realizes how much she reminds him of his own dead wife.
I was surpised by the graphic nature of this WWII drama from 1971. It might not be categorized as a particularly gory film, but the scenes that involve it packs a punch. Even the more simple effects like gun shots were impressive for a gorehound like myself. But the part that definitely surprised me as far as being of graphic nature goes was the birth of the child, as it must have been footage of an actual birth. It was filmed from the side so we wouldn't see the actual vagina but the baby is very, very real and living when we see it pushed out from between the legs of the woman. Mixing these things with the extremely bleak atmosphere and the much apocalyptic ruins of the town it definitely held up as a treat for the eye, something even those who don't get into the story as much as they hope for can approve of.
The second world war, or war at all for that matter, has never been something I have had an interest in. I'll even go as far as saying that most history that doesn't involve films is something I rarely put any effort in getting into. This is something that has made it hard for me to enjoy some period pieces, but even I can filter the good from the bad, and "The Third Part of the Night" still has a spot on the good side. It's a very emotional story that isn't afraid to show it's balls once in a while. The director has a style that can take some effort to appreciate, because it's so far from what we are used to watch. It isn't making it simple for the viewer to get into as it's not going out of it's way to explain itself. It might be worth checking out if you are interested after this review, and even if you don't like it, you'll have a movie experience that should atleast have SOMETHING to offer the fans of this website.