Polish director Andrzej Wajda's début films, showing the horror of the German occupation of Poland, won awards at Cannes and established Wajda's reputation as both story-teller and commentator on Poland's turbulent history. As well as his impressive career in TV and film, he also served on the national Senate from 1989-91.
The success of "Pan Tadeusz" helped me to understand that there is a cinema audience willing to watch Polish films, although not every one, and perhaps it was my role, as in several earlier cases, to transfer major works of Polish literature, like "The Wedding" and "The Promised Land", to the screen. Perhaps my role now was to adapt our great national literature, maybe this was what audiences were somehow waiting for because no one would make those kinds of films if we didn't make them ourselves. So, after "Pan Tadeusz", I transferred to the screen the best known Polish comedy written in the same year that Adam Mickiewicz wrote "Pan Tadeusz" in 1842. It was called "Revenge" and was written by Count Aleksander Fredro, and making this film made me feel like an old classic. Then I remembered how when I'd travelled to Belgrade for the first time after making "Ashes and Diamonds", I was 31 years old, and very soon my Serb friends, actors and friends who had worked with me on "Siberian Lady Macbeth" began to say about me, "Oh, the old classic has arrived". So I was already an old classic then, but now I realised that perhaps in some way it was my destiny that, at the end of a long life and after so many films, I should be making films that were bringing this audience together. It was an audience that was a little frightened, a little disorientated by the idea that we were going to join Europe, but what were we going to join it with, what would happen, who are we, what are we called? I think this also stirs in an adult audience, because if you get an audience of 6 million like you did for 'Pan Tadeusz', it's no longer a young audience of people between the ages of 15 and 25. To get this kind of an audience, there must be people there who have come out of their houses who don't watch other kinds of films. They have to take off their slippers, put on their shoes, buy a ticket and come to the cinema. When will they go to the cinema? When there's a film showing that says something to them. I think "Revenge" was that kind of film and I think it had one other recommendation, namely, that it shows Polish characters better than any other literary work in Poland, because it shows the quarrelsomeness, the inability to be reconciled, a disinterested hatred. This is very typical of the Polish character. It's included in "Revenge" and the actors love performing this play, vying against each other for these roles.
Sukces filmu "Pan Tadeusz" dal mi do zrozumienia, ze istnieje widownia w kinie dla polskiego filmu, ale nie dla kazdego i ze byc moze moja rola jest, jak to juz kilkakrotnie wczesniej sie zdarzalo, kiedy przenosilem na ekran arcydziela polskiej literatury tak jak "Wesele", "Ziemia obiecana", ze moze i tym razem moja rola polega na tym, zeby byc adaptatorem wielkiej, narodowej literatury, ze na to w jakis sposób oczekuje widownia, no bo takich filmów nikt nie zrobi, jezeli mi ich sami nie zrobimy. No i po filmie "Pan Tadeusz" przenioslem na ekran najbardziej znana polska komedie, napisana zreszta w tym samym roku, w którym Mickiewicz pisal "Pana Tadeusza" w 1842 pt. "Zemsta", autorem jest Aleksander hrabia Fredro i nagle robiac ten film poczulem sie jak stary klasyk. Wtedy przypomnialem sobie, ze jak przyjechalem do Belgradu po raz pierwszy, po filmie "Popiól i diament", mialem 31 lat, bardzo szybko moi przyjaciele, serbscy aktorzy, moi przyjaciele, którzy pracowali ze mna nad filmem "Sybirska Lady Makbet" zaczeli mówic: "O, przyjechal stary klasyk". Wiec juz wtedy bylem starym klasykiem, a teraz zdalem sobie sprawe, ze moze to jest w jakis sposób moje przeznaczenie, zeby na koncu dlugiego zycia i tylu filmów, zrobic filmy, które ta widownie przyblizaja, ta widownie troche wystraszona i zagubiona i tym, ze mamy sie przylaczyc do Europy, z czym my sie mamy przylaczyc do Europy, jak to bedzie, kim my jestesmy, jak sie nazywamy. Mysle, ze to tez budzi w tej widowni doroslej, bo przeciez jezeli sie pojawia taka widownia jak na "Panu Tadeuszu" szesc milionów ludzi, to juz nie jest widownia mlodziezowa pomiedzy 15 i 25 rokiem zycia. Zeby osiagnac taka widownie, musza wyjsc z domu ci, którzy nie ogladaja zadnych innych filmów. Musza zrzucic ranne pantofle, ubrac buty, kupic bilet, przyjsc do kina. Kiedy oni przyjda do kina, wtedy kiedy jest jakis film, który im cos mówi. Mysle, ze takim filmem okazala sie byc takze "Zemsta". A "Zemsta" ma jeszcze jedna wielka zalete, mianowicie pokazuje polskie charaktery lepiej niz jakikolwiek inny literacki utwór w Polsce. Bo pokazuje cala ta taka zapieklosc, klótliwosc, niemoznosc pogodzenia sie, taka bezinteresowna nienawisc. To jest bardzo charakterystyczne dla polskiego charakteru. I to jest wlasnie zawarte w "Zemscie" i aktorzy zawsze bardzo kochaja grac te sztuke na scenie i wyrywaja sobie te role.
Cinematographer Jacek Petrycki was born in Poznań, Poland in 1948. He has worked extensively in Poland and throughout the world. His credits include, for Agniezka Holland, Provincial Actors (1979), Europe, Europe (1990), Shot in the Heart (2001) and Julie Walking Home (2002), for Krysztof Kieslowski numerous short films including Camera Buff (1980) and No End (1985). Other credits include Journey to the Sun (1998), directed by Jesim Ustaoglu, which won the Golden Camera 300 award at the International Film Camera Festival, Shooters (2000) and The Valley (1999), both directed by Dan Reed, Unforgiving (1993) and Betrayed (1995) by Clive Gordon both of which won the BAFTA for best factual photography. Jacek Petrycki is also a teacher and a filmmaker.