Putting forth Polish cavalry as the best in the world and potraying its role in ending the 300 years of struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, September Eleven 1683 is the first production about the infamous battle
In the summer of 1683, 300,000 warriors from the Ottoman Empire, led by the grand vizier Kara Mustafa, began the siege of Vienna. The Holy Roman Empire in league with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was led by Polish King John III Sobieski against the Ottoman Empire and chiefdoms of the Ottoman Empire in a battle at the Kahlenberg mountain in Vienna. Perhaps marking the turning point in the 300-year struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire or confirming the already-decaying power of the Ottoman Empire, the battle is considered one of the twenty most important battles in the history of the world. It is also notable for including the largest cavalry charge in history.
The 2012 Polish and Italian historical drama film about the Battle of Vienna of 1683 is scheduled for release on October 12th, 2012 and has been sold to 50 countries around the world. Directed by Renzo Martinelli who decided to shoot the movie by way of his interest for the Capuchin friar Marco d’Aviano advisor to Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, with a budget of 50 million Polish zlotys, the production involved 10,000 extras, 3,000 horses, a scenography built over an area of 1 hectar with 200 meters of 12 meter tall city walls and 6,000 costumes worth 8 million Polish zlotys. It was shot in Romania, Poland and Italy. Alongside the international artists: Milos Forman, F. Murray Abraham and Enrico Lo Verso, the cast includes famous Polish actors: Jerzy Skolimowski as King John III Sobieski, Alicja Bachleda-Curuś as Eleanor of Austria, Daniel Olbrychski as General Marcin Kazimierz Kątski. The movie is planned to be turned into a five episode long series.
In his movie, Martinelli intertwines a couple of separate stories. The tale of a munch who has known the grand vizier for many years and desires to spread Christianity, the story of a Christian-Muslim married couple put to the test in the face of the war and the military confrontation between the West and the East.
The topic of Muslim-Christian relations is a particularly poignant one in today's world, particularly given the proposed English-language title of the film - September Eleven 1683 - yet as Timothy Snyder of the New York Review of Books remarks,
The lifting of the siege of Vienna was no simple victory for Christendom over Islam. It is quite true that Poland, at considerable risk to itself, marched its armies southward to rescue its Habsburg neighbors from the Ottomans. But old Poland was in no simple sense a Christian state. It had ignored papal objections to its treaties with Muslim and pagan states, and been the target of crusades from Germany. The Polish king was obliged by law to tolerate various forms of Christianity, including Protestantism and the eastern rite, as well as Judaism and Islam.
The influence of this heterogenic mix of cultures on society and politics was indeed significant, creating a picture of the battle that is a far cry from the black-and-white message many narratives on the battle may portray. In fact, there were a number of Muslims of Tatar origin engaged in the Cavalry and part of the storming of the gates of Vienna, presumably fighting to drive off an Islamic invasion of Europe. As Snyder remarks,
The very tactics of the Polish cavalry, regarded at the time as the best in Europe, were developed in contact with, and indeed copied from, the Tatars. Polish nobles bore curved swords. They shaved their skulls and grew their mustaches long. Just before the fateful charge down the Kahlenberg, each Polish soldier took a piece of straw, and placed it in his helm. This was an agreed-upon signal, allowing the Austrians to tell the difference between the allied Polish soldiers and the common Ottoman enemy.
For more information, see: www.imdb.com
Editors: Marta Jazowska, Agnieszka Le Nart
Source: imdb, NYRB