COURAGE: OUR CREDO
A true story following a family of Polish captives as they fight to survive and escape a russian labor camp during WWII.
Courage: Our Credo follows the story of a poor farming family living in Poland in the early 1940’s. Though the family does not have much, they have each other. Their way of a simple life is turned upside down when the Russian Army gets closer to invading their village and when a young girl as abandoned in their care. This is a strong start to a feature. The writers show a strong ability to create strong dialogue and subtext which adds to the drama of the feature.
There are a few moments of dialogue that show the kind and gentle nature of Lawrence, the family patriarch, and his genial outlook on life. It is clear he wants his children to learn to be smart and compassionate above anything else. On page 13 he says to his son “Strength isn’t demonstrated by what you’re capable of physically. It’s shown from here. He touches over Anthony’s heart. There’s always going to be times when your strength and courage are tested - but it’s through humility that they’re truly demonstrated”. This is not only a touching moment between father and son, but also shows that Lawrence is a beacon of light to the family
In contrast, his son Anthony is still young and is not as sage as his father. He is in a stage of life where the taunts from the other villagers and the people who look down at their simple life bother him. When looking over their land, Anthony begins getting angry saying, “It’s not enough. To which his father retorts , “It doesn’t matter how much you have. It’s what you do with what you’re given.” Again his mother also shows a strong sense of self-worth and intellect when Anthony says, “I want to serve my country. Like you. It’s something to be proud of.” To which his mother Anna responds. “You don’t have to fight someone else’s war to be proud.”
There are also great moments of subtext and transitions in the beginning of this feature. On page 3, we see Lawrence releasing the young bunny from the trap instead of keeping it for food. Though the family does not have much and every bit helps, Lawrence knows that the poor bunny has yet to live its full life and releases it. For transitions, in the first scene there is violence Sarah and Wands try to escape from soldiers. Though we do not see the bloodshed, the next scene immediately shows blood in Mary’s bed. She is having a miscarriage. The transition is clever to take the story to Mary and her family after setting up the violence happening outside of the village and the potential fate of the family. It was also smart for the writers to have Sarah and Wanda knock at the door and arrive at the height of the family argument on page 18. This let the audience take a breather from the escalated drama and also merge the two storylines together.
Overall, this was a fantastic beginning to a feature. The writers show a clear ability to create nuanced, dynamic characters as well as creating great moments of subtext and transitions. The pacing of the first 20 pages is also nice with the inciting incidence happening, the immediate protagonist introduced, and a second storyline with Mary’s boyfriend. It will be interesting to see where this story goes and how the writers continue to use their skills throughout the rest of the screenplay.