11 settembre 1683 (The Day of the Siege: September Eleven 1683)  (2012)





Director:     .

Starring:    F. Murray Abraham (Marco D'Aviano), Enrico Lo Verso (Karą Mustafą), Alicja Bachleda (Eleanor, Duchess of Lorraine), Jerzy Skolimowski (Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland), Piotr Adamczyk (Leopold I), Cristina Serafini (Rosa Cristofori), Marius Chivu (Cosma), Antonio Cupo (Charles V Duke of Lorraine), Giorgio Lupano (Count von Starhemberg), Yorgo Voyagis (Abu'l), Daniel Olbrychski (Marcin Kazimierz Katski), Wojciech Mecwaldowski (Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki), Borys Szyc (Mikolaj Adam Sieniawski), Marcin Walewski (Jakub 'Fanfan' Sobieski), Stefan Iancu (Kara Mustafa's son).

siege of Vienna by the Turks



Spoiler Warning:

"On September 11th 1683 Islam was at the pea of its expansion in the West.  Three hundred thousand Islamic troops under the command of Karą Mustafą were besieging the city they called the Golden Apple:  Vienna.  The aim of Karą Mustafą was to lead his army on to Rome, and transform the Basilica of Saint Peter into a Mosque.  If all of this never came about, it's due to an Italian monk, Marco Da Aviano, and a Polish King, Jan Sobieski.  This is their story."  

Northern Italy, Autumn 1682.  The prayerful are calling for Padre Marco.  He comes forward and tells them that they have come to just a poor monk for a miracle, which he can't perform.  He says they must pray not to him, but to God.  He asks the people to pray with him, but his prayer is soon stopped by a blind man who shouts that it's a miracle, for now he can see.  This ruins the monk's message and they start focusing on the monk and not God again.  Marco has to get away from the people who swamp him again.  He asks God:  "Why me?"

Istanbul, Turkey.  The Sultan nominates Kara Mustafa the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.  He also puts Mustafa in command of the army and ask that he carry the green flag of Mohammed back into the very heart of Europe. 

Mustafa's young son says he wants to be like his father when he grows up.  Father assure his son that he will have his day in the sun.  They go home.  Mother asks where will Mustafa go next?  He says Vienna and then Rome.  He also tells of the great worker of miracles, who works in Venice.  He's a monk by the name of Marco.  Many years ago, Mustafa has saved a boy by the name of Marco.  It was Marco who gave him the amulet he carries around his neck. 

Marco visits his father, who is a cloth dyer.  Father is still angry that Marco became a religious man and not a dyer.  They have dinner together with mother.  Dad goes to bed early and mother tells Marco that the family business is not going so well these days.  She also says that the Turks have started their incursions.  A servant comes into the dining room to says that a group of young men and going up the hill to kill Abu'l.  Marco rushes outside and up the hill.  He tells the young men not to harm, Abu'l, a man who is living proof that Christians and Muslims can live together peacefully.  A young woman whimpers to the men not to do this.  She's deaf and dumb.  The leader gets fed up and tells the men to go back, but they will return and then Abu'l will not have a priest to protect him. 

Mustafa's favorite wife has a recurring nightmare about her husband being slain in battle.  Mustafa seems a bit worried about the dream that keeps repeating itself.  He rides to see a man who can interpret dreams.  He tells him of the recurring dream where a holy Christian man leads hundreds of archers to fire arrow into Mustafa.  The dream interpreter says he sees much blood in the future, but not Mustafa's blood.  This makes Mustafa feel much better. 

A comet comes out of the East.  Marco looks at it through a telescope and is shocked.  He tells the other he comet if colored red like blood from the East.  He adds:  "This is the sign!  This is the sign!"

The deaf and dumb woman goes to see Abu'l.  He tells Lena that it is time for him to leave for home, Istanbul.  He too has seen the comet and it is a signal for war.  He cannot take Lena with him for in his country there is no place for women in war.  Lena starts screaming and sobbing and runs away. 

Mustafa is ready to move out with his army.  He says he will punish those European dogs and infidels for their victory over the Muslims at the battle of Lepanto.  [Wikipedia says the battle occurred in 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece.]

Marco tells his friend monk Cosma that the Turks are coming to attack Vienna.  Cosma replies that the Turks sight the peace treaty.  Marco says the Turks want to conquer the world. 

Vienna, Austria.  Charles V Karl V. Leopold, Duke of Lorraine.  [The Emperor at the time was Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.] Marco and Cosma come to speak with Charles V.   The Duke called the men to him.  He wants Marco to become his spiritual advisor.  Marco mentions to the King that Europe is in great peril.  The King asks what peril?  Marco says for months the Turks have been making raids in the west.  They have raided in Poland and Hungary.  Europe has been weakened by the Thirty Year War.  Next spring they will be at the walls of Vienna.  Charles V must makes alliances with the Princes of Saxony, Rhenania, the Palatinate, and with the King of Bavaria and above all with the King of Poland.  Charles V says the King of Poland hates him.  He cannot align himself with that barbarian Jan Sobieski.  Marco goes on to say that France under King Louis XIV (1643-1715) who will urge the Turks to break the Vasvar Treaty. 

Marco is introduced to the Duchess, the sister of the King, and her husband the Duke Carlo, along with Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg, military commander of the city.  And now they go to have a dinner that has been especially prepared for Marco.  The royals sit at the table, but not Marco and Cosma.  Marco says they have done so much fasting that their stomachs have shrunk to a small size and he, in particular, feels uneasy at formal dinners.  The Duchess, however, is not prepared to accept that.  She says it's a great honor to be invited to a royal dinner.  She asks him how dare him not accept the invitation to dine with the Duke.  Nevertheless, Marco insists on leaving.

Istanbul.  Mustafa explains that he will follow the course of the Maritsa (flowing through southern Bulgaria and into western Turkey) to the Pindus Mountains (in northern Greece and southern Albania).  In less than two months, they will reach the walls of Vienna. 

Abu'l comes to see Mustafa with information about Marco, who is telling western leaders that they must form a new holy league against Islam and revive the spirit of Lepanto.  Abu'l adds that the Grand Vizier knows this man.  Mustafa saved the life of this man and this man gave Mustafa the wolf's tooth he bears around his neck.  Mustafa says he should have let the man die. 

Edirne, Turkey, March 15, 1683.  The Turkish army marches toward Vienna.

The sister of Charles V calls for Marco.  She asks for his forgiveness for her rudeness to him at the royal dinner.  Marco grants it.  She then shows him how the skin on her chest has ravaged her.  It's very ugly and it startles Marco.  He tells her that she will not die for God has need of her to complete his plans. 

As Marco starts to leave Vienna, the deaf and dumb Lena grabs at him.  Marco feeds her, but then tells her she cannot stay here because soon there will be war.  He knows she has come to be reunited with Abu'l, but he has gone to rejoin his people and she must forget him.  She shakes her head no, and shows him that she is pregnant. 

Mustafa is joined by the Tartar forces under Khan Murad Giray. 

Charles V receives a letter from Mustafa.  He says that he will take Vienna and will personally cut Charles' head off.  Charles starts to panic saying he feels like a mouse caught between two ferocious cats:  Mustafa and Louis XIV.  In Vienna they only have about 15,000 men to face 300,000 enemy troops of Mustafa.  Charles's sister comes to him and tells him to sent for Padre Marco right away. 

Raab River, Hungary.  Carlo di Lorena's camp.  June 10 1683.  The men in camp hear the sounds of thousands of horses coming their way.  The men rush down to the river bank.  They are frightened  by the terrible sounds of the thundering hooves. 

Vienna, Austria.  July 8,1683.  Charles V leaves Vienna.  His sister stays, telling him she won't abandon Vienna. 

Troops sent from Vienna, put Marco in a carriage and take him back to Vienna. 

Vienna, Austria.  July 14, 1683.  Marco looks over the ramparts of the walls of Vienna.  He is flabbergasted at the sight of so many enemy soldiers before them.  The Vienna commander says that from the south, Prince Eugenio of Savoia will join them with 1,000 Italian lancers.  Another 20,000 men are coming from Saxony and Bavaria.  An additional 10,000 are coming from Franconia and Swabia.  That makes for a total of around 50,000 men.  The Duchess says that the King of Poland has promised the Holy Alliance to send 40,000 men.  Marco says that the King of Poland will not keep his promise. 

Mustafa tells Abu'l to tell the Christians that if they surrender and recognize the true faith, they will save their bodies and souls.  Under a white flag, Abu'l goes over to the walls announcing that message.  He is a little shaken when he sees that Lean and Marco are among the defenders of Vienna. 

Khan Murad Giray wants to put some cannon on the Kahlenberg Mountains, because the Christians could attack them from those very same mountains.  Mustafa says no.  Others tells Musfafa that the King of Poland is marching his army towards Vienna.  Mustafa answers that an Sobiesi is old and ill.  The man has difficulty even walking and needs assistance to mount a horse.  He will never leave his country. 

The battle begins with cannon fire from the enemy.  The Vienna cannon are fired at the Muslim forces.  The cannon fire wounds the Count. 

At night Lena sneaks into the enemy camp and is apprehended.  She has a note with Abu'l's name on it and the troops call out for Abu'l.  He comes over and denies that he knows this woman.  This really upsets Lena and she grabs at Abu'l's legs as he starts to leave.  Again he denies he knows the woman. 

Vienna, Austria, August 9, 1683.  The troops notice slight vibrations of the earth under them.  The Muslim sappers have tunneled beneath the walls of Vienna.  They are heading straight for the Burg bastion. 

Two big explosions open the walls somewhat.  The Turks can now walk straight up onto the top of the ramparts.  The defending troops stand at the top waiting to stop the enemy's rush.  The Turks retreat much to Mustafa's disappointment.  The rush at the fort was probably slowed because the troops were in trenches with very few exits, which slowed the rush. 

And now arrives the Polish troops.  The men in the fort give out with a loud shout. 

Lena has been put with the other women used as prostitutes.  Abu'l pays his money to have the blonde woman, Lena, with him.  Lena at first resists going with Abu'l, but then she does follow him. 

Linz, Austria.  Imperial Palace. Charles V and the other royals do not want Sobieski to be the leader of the Holy League.  They say he's not even a royal.  He's just a mere soldier.  Then they ask Sobieski what he thinks.  Sobieski says he will leave and go back to Poland unless they make him the commander of the Holy League.  Marco speaks up and says they will win as long as they stay united.  He adds that if Sobieski says he knows who to win this battle, then they should hear his ideas.  So, the Polish King says that they will fight from Kahlenberg.  Many says that it's impossible to get horse and cannon up to the top of Kahlenberg, but Sobieski insists that he can get up on top of that damned mountain.  And from there his cannon will rain hell down upon the Muslims.  Then he himself will lead an attack that will end in the destruction of the army of Mustafa.

Mustafa tells Abu'l to arrange a meeting for him with Marco.  He says he wants to now why Allah made him save this man's live. 

At night Marco and Mustafa meet in the open.  Mustafa says that Allah made him save Marco's life so that he could kill Marco upon taking Vienna.  Marco says no.  God made Mustafa save Marco's life, so he could be here to save Mustafa's life and Mustafa's soul.  They agree to differ and Mustafa leaves. 

Vienna, Austria.  September 11, 1683.  Marco gives the troops a speech to inspire them to battle.  The troops start moving the cannon up into the mountains. 

The next morning the battle begins.  Charles' army has to retreat soon to stop from being overrun.  The Count asks where is the Polish King? 

Mustafa with his telescope sees Marco waving his cross up on the mountain top.  Then he sees Polish troops up on the top.  The Polish cannon now start raining cannon balls down upon the Muslim cannon.  Even Mustafa is wounded.  Now Sobieski attacks the Muslims.  The Khan takes his troops out of the battle.  Soon the Muslim troops are running for their lives.  Mustafa commits virtual suicide by attacking the Polish troops en masse.  They fire their pistols and kill the man.  That's when they find out that the man is not Mustafa, but another man. 

Mustafa retreats with his troops.  Lena is with the dead Abu'l on the battlefield.  Marco cries over the body. 

Beograd.  December 25, 1683.  There Mustafa's son and the boy's mother come to see Mustafa visit him in the snowy weather.  Mustafa is to be executed and the Sultan has insisted that his son witness his father's death.  The Grand Vizier is strangled to death by two men using a long piece of cloth wrapped twice around the man's neck. 


Good movie.  Wikipedia says about the Battle of Vienna: 

"It was a battle of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in league with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Holy League) versus the Muslim Ottoman Empire and chiefdoms of the Ottoman Empire, and took place at Kahlenberg Mountain near Vienna. The battle marked the beginning of the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty in the Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe. . . . The decisive battle took place on September 11 and 12, after the united relief army of approximately 84,000 men had arrived. . . .Much of the Holy Leagues' gains would be recaptured by the Ottomans, such as the Morea and Azov, while the Balkan territories would fall back in parts to the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Passarowitz."

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



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