Gates to Paradise

For Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise"; see Battistero di San Giovanni
Gates to Paradise
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Produced by Sam Waynberg
Written by Jerzy Andrzejewski
Donald Howarth
Starring John Fordyce
Lionel Stander
Mathieu Carrière
Pauline Challoner
Ferdy Mayne
Music by Ward Swingle
Cinematography Mieczyslaw Jahoda
Release dates
Running time
UK: 89 min / DE: 77 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Gates to Paradise is a 1968 film by Polish director Andrzej Wajda. The film is set in medieval France and is based on a story by Polish writer Jerzy Andrzejewski (1960) that seeks to expose the motives behind youthful religious zeal. It was entered into the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

Plot synopsis

In 1212, a Children's Crusade is launched after Jakob (John Fordyce) claims to have had a vision in which it is said that the innocence of children would be able to liberate Jerusalem. A monk (Lionel Stander), returning from Jerusalem, joins the crusade and hears the children's confessions, gradually realizing that most of them are taking part not for religious, but for more worldly reasons, like rejected love. [2]

Both Alexander (Mathieu Carrière) and Bianca (Pauline Challoner) are in love with Jakob. Alexander, who has learned that his adoptive father (and his lover), Count Ludwig (Ferdy Mayne), also a crusader, had killed Alexander's Greek parents, is gleeful that Jakob himself is in love with the Count, whom he had met after the Count and Alexander had split after an argument. This allows Alexander to take revenge for the Count's infidelity by telling his beloved Jakob about the Count's recent demise by drowning in a river, watched by an unmoved Alexander.

Finally, it is revealed in Jakob's confession that Jakob received the inspiration for the crusade not from God but from the Count, which means that the crusade must fail, since it is not by the will of God. However, the monk is unable to stop the children's progression and is left behind.


See also


  1. " Awards for Gates to Paradise". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  2. |title=Lost Gems of the '60s: 13th Century Hormones and Rejected Love

External links

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