In the winter of 1942-43, a Jewish family leaps from a train going through Silesia. They are separated in the woods, and Leon, a local peasant who’s now a farmer of some wealth, discovers the woman, Rosa, and hides her in his cellar. Leon’s a middle-aged Catholic bachelor, tormented by his sexual drive.
He doesn’t tell Rosa he’s seen signs her husband is alive, and he begs her to love him. Rosa offers herself to Leon if he’ll help a local Jew in hiding who needs money. Leon pays, and love between Rosa and him does develop, but then Leon’s peasant subservience and his limited empathy lead to tragedy. At the war’s end, a ray of sunshine comes from an unexpected place.
Angry Harvest (German: Bittere Ernte) is a 1985 West German film directed by Agnieszka Holland. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is based on a novel written by Hermann Field and Stanislaw Mierzenski while they were imprisoned by the Polish government in the early 1950s. (The circumstances under which the novel were written are documented in Field’s autobiographical story, “Trapped in the Cold War: The Ordeal of an American Family”.)
Angry Harvest (1985)
Directed by: Agnieszka Holland
Starring: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Wojciech Pszoniak, Gerd Baltus, Anita Höfer, Margit Carstensen, Käte Jaenicke
Screenplay by: Agnieszka Holland, Paul Hengge
Production Design by: Werner Schwenke
Cinematography by: Jozef Ort-Snep
Film Editing by: Barbara Kunze
Costume Design by: Hannelore Wessel
Music by: Jörg Straßburger
Distributed by: European Classics
Release Date: September 30, 1985