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Film / AmbaSSada

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AmbaSSada ("The EmbaSSy") is a 2013 Polish time travel comedy movie, directed by Juliusz Machulski.

In modern-day Warsaw, a young Polish couple, Melania ("Mela") and Przemek, are house-sitting in an apartment building which, back in the inter-war period, was the site of the German embassy. One day, the protagonists find out that the third-floor button in the building's elevator delivers them directly to the past era—specifically, to August 1939, right before the outbreak of World War II. Things get hairy as the Nazis find out about the mysterious time portal, and decide to use it to ensure that World War II goes their way. Przemek and Mela must find a way to stop them, with the help of Przemek's ancestor, a secret agent of the Polish intelligence.


The film features the following tropes:

  • Bait-and-Switch: Near the beginning of the movie, Przemek and Mela discover that a room in their apartment building has a Nazi office in it, and soon, a very angry Gestapo officer comes into their house. It looks like the movie's advertised time travel plot has started... but it turns out to be a prank played by Mela and her actor friends. Then the actual plot begins...
  • Bittersweet Ending: The protagonists successfully prevent World War II (and the subsequent Communist takeover of Poland), but Przemek gets permanently stranded in 1939. However, it's apparently not so bad for him since he starts a new life with Inge and manages to publish a bestselling book.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: After kidnapping Hitler, the protagonists proceed to torture him in an attempt to get him to call off the war. In addition, Melania gives him extra torture in revenge for the atrocities committed by Nazis in World War II (which is probably Bewildering Punishment for Hitler, seeing as none of these things have yet happened from his perspective.)
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  • Deus ex Machina: In the ending, World War II is prevented because, after Hitler's disappearance, Hitler's body double trips over a random cat, falls down the stairs, and dies.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ribbentrop proceeds to shoot all the witnesses once Hitler's body double is brought out of his cell to replace Hitler.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: The heroes find themselves in 1939. Obviously, they quickly decide to kill Hitler. Discussed when Hitler himself notes that even if he is gone, there are many other prominent Nazis ready to take his place. In the end, it turns out that he was wrong. Getting rid of Hitler (and his body double) was enough to keep World War II from taking place.
  • Identical Grandson: Przemek looks nearly identical to his great-grandfather from 1939. It's exploited later when he dresses up as him in an attempt to fool Ribbentrop, and at the end of the movie, where he ends up taking Przemek's place in 2013 after the latter got left behind in 1939.
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  • Informed Ability: In the ending, Mela is said to have excelled at History in school. During the movie, however, she has to ask her husband about the date World War II started, and is confused about who perpetrated the Katyn massacre (Germans or Russians)—two things that pretty much everyone in Poland knows.
  • Is This a Joke?: When Przemek visits the 1939 embassy for the first time, at first he's convinced that it's a prank played by Mela and her actor friends—kind of justified, since they'd done that very thing earlier in the movie.
  • Language Barrier: Przemek doesn't speak German, so in several scenes, Mela has to interpret for him when talking with the Nazis.
  • Loud of War: After capturing Hitler, Mela tortures him by—among other things—playing "Hava Nagila" on the saxophone. Very loudly.
  • Portal to the Past: The wardrobe delivered to Melania and Przemek's home is apparently connected with an identical wardrobe in the 1939 embassy, so anything put into one comes out of the other. A similar thing applies to the elevator in the hallway: when the third floor button is pressed, the elevator opens into the 1939 building (and conversely, anyone entering the elevator in the 1939 embassy can ride to 2013 by pressing the fourth-floor button). It's never explained how and when did the elevator gain such properties, however.
  • Time-Travellers Are Spies: When Mela is found in the corridor of the embassy in 1939, she is immediately taken to be a spy, handcuffed and interrogated. It doesn't help that she immediately starts talking about how World War II is starting in September 1, which is a well-kept secret.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Or rather moustache-cut, in case of Hitler. The protagonists shave his moustache as part of torturing him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Overall, the Germans seem rather unfazed to find out that the fourth floor of their embassy leads to a far future year of incredibly advanced technology. They're mostly interested in the opportunity to predict how World War II is going to go, and ignore pretty much everything else.
    • Melania's balcony is placed in view of another building and in several scenes, there are many people milling about there (there's even a scene where they see a Nazi walk out onto the balcony and chuckle at the strangely dressed weirdo.) Later on, Anton tosses a Nazi soldier off the balcony, and later the dead bodies of several others—but there's no indication that any onlookers are alarmed by this. (Though they apparently vanish back into 1939 as soon as they fall off the balcony, so at least this explains why no one notices any bodies on the pavement.)
  • Your Costume Needs Work: When Hitler is taken to a modern-day bar in Warsaw, the barman comments that he looks nothing like Hitler, since he's missing his moustache (the protagonists have shaved it off while torturing him) and "Hitler without a moustache doesn't count."


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