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School of Fine Arts in Kraków was my destiny

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My mother
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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I think I ought to say a few words about my mother because, on the one hand, my father was a very precise man who came from a poor farming family from outside of Kraków, whereas my mother was from a middle class family. My grandfather was an official in the Austro-Hungarian police, because everything took place in Przemyśl. My mother had graduated from teaching college and was working as a teacher in a Ukrainian school not far from Przemyśl. They met because my father had defended Lwów after which he was in the garrison based in Przemyśl and I think that's why they met. They were only able to get married once my father had been given permission to marry by the army, since an officer was only allowed to marry if he had the means to support a family. Therefore, it was only once my father went from being a sub-lieutenant to a lieutenant that his income was sufficient. They married and my father found himself, found himself in the garrison in Suwałki in the 41st Infantry Regiment. My mother had to give up her job because there was a rule that only one parent could be employed by the state. Thus, from that time on, my mother devoted herself exclusively to running our home. This is why my mother's presence was so strong in our lives and could also be the reason why I felt I was under her wing so completely and in her, as if in her presence. My mother was a very good person. I also think her teacher training had a good, calming effect on everything that happened at home. She always regarded my dislike of school with deep understanding. And my mediocre grades, too.

Myślę, że powinienem powiedzieć też kilka słów o mojej matce dlatego, że z jednej strony ojciec był takim bardzo akuratnym człowiekiem i pochodził z biednej, podkrakowskiej, chłopskiej rodziny. Natomiast matka moja pochodziła z rodziny mieszczańskiej. Dziadek był urzędnikiem policji austro-węgierskiej, bo wszystko się działo w Przemyślu. Matka moja skończyła seminarium nauczycielskie i została nauczycielką, zresztą w szkole ukraińskiej gdzieś w pobliżu Przemyśla. Poznali się, no bo ojciec mój był obroncą Lwowa, potem był również w Garnizonie Przemyskim i myślę, że to jest powód, dla którego się mogli poznać. Oni mogli się pobrać dopiero w tym momencie, kiedy armia dała ojcu pozwolenie na to. Dlatego że oficer mógł się ożenić dopiero w tym momencie, kiedy miał dostateczne środki żeby utrzymać rodzinę. Czyli, że w momencie, kiedy mój ojciec z podporucznika stał sie porucznikiem, wtedy jego gaża była wystarczająca. Pobrali się i ojciec mój znalazł się...znalazł się w garnizonie w Suwałkach w 41 Pułku Piechoty. Matka w tym momencie już musiała przestać pracować, dlatego że zasada była taka, że tylko jedno z rodziców mogło pracować na państwowej posadzie. I tym sposobem matka od tamtego czasu całkowicie, tylko i wyłącznie, poświęcała się domowi. A ojciec był tym, który zarabiał pieniądze na utrzymanie tego domu. I dlatego matka była taka obecna w naszym życiu może to też było powodem właśnie, że czułem się całkowicie jakby pod jej skrzydłami, w jej jakby... w jej obecności. Matka była bardzo dobrą osobą. Myślę, że też jej wykształcenie pedagogiczne miało taki dobry, łagodny wpływ na to wszystko, co sie działo w domu. I matka zawsze z wyrozumieniem patrzyła na moją niechęć chodzenia do szkoły, na to że takie średnie zawsze miałem wyniki.

Polish director Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016) was a towering presence in Polish cinema for six decades. His films, showing the horror of the German occupation of Poland, won awards at Cannes and established his 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.

Listeners: Jacek Petrycki

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.

Tags: Przemyśl, Suwałki, 41 Infantry Regiment

Duration: 2 minutes, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008