15 October 2023

Warsaw – City of Ruins

Digital technology has allowed us to play all sorts of tricks on the imagination – the cityscape surrounding Will Smith in I Am Legend is just one example of how the appearance of a city can be changed to appear as it would after a force of total malevolence had wreaked its damage.

Yet many people throughout history had no need of FX trickery to experience apocalypse and that was certainly the case for the people of Warsaw after the Second World War.  Previously one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, a place full of life and culture, the city was all but destroyed by the time hostilities ceased in 1945, its population more than decimated and its buildings and streets in complete ruin.

Yet in some ways black and white photography and grainy film footage can lose its impact over the decades, particularly for young people for whom there is no immediate memory of the carnage.  With that in mind Warsaw Rising Museum has commissioned this remarkable digital reconstruction of the Warsaw as it was after the war - City of Ruins.

The Polish capital is the first city to undergo this kind of digital recreation to show what it had been reduced to only a lifetime ago.  A team of thirty graphic artists contributed for two years to create this five minute reconstruction and Platige Image acted as Producer.

Following the flight path of a US Liberator over the ravaged city this elegant piece of digital art is somehow disquieting and calming at the same time.  It gives us a full picture of just how the city looked in its entirety (if that is the right word for these remnants of cosmopolitan life) and the work that its population had ahead of them in order to raise the city from the ruins.

The Visual Effects Society has recently announced the nominations for their prestigious VES Award for the best special effects in film, television, commercials and games. City of Ruins has been nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in the Special Venue Project category.

The Warsaw Rising Museum will be presenting the film from 1 August and its Director, Jan Ołdakowski, would be delighted if you could come to the museum and watch the film.