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Joseph Conrad's last encounter with the sea


Joseph Conrad in film
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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Joseph Conrad is an author whom we in Poland all know well because we consider him to be a Polish author. The fact that he wrote in English, well, that doesn't really count. He's a Polish author and the excellence of his English, which English people appreciate, isn't as important as the characters he presents and the things he writes about. My adventure with The Shadow Line began with a meeting with Bolesław Sulik. Bolesław Sulik was someone who was involved in all kinds of things. We met in London. He was the son of General Sulik, an emigré, but he had already started coming to Poland. He suggested I make a film from Conrad. But it's not easy to make a film from Conrad. No one so far has managed to do this apart from one film called Outcast of the Islands by Carol Reed. It was a beautiful and moving film; every other attempt ended in failure. Generally, Joseph Conrad's stories didn't translate well to the screen. Hitchcock had made a film of The Secret Agent.

Joseph Conrad jest pisarzem, którego my wszyscy w Polsce dobrze znamy, bo uważamy go za polskiego pisarza. To, że pisał po angielsku, włóżmy między bajki. To jest polski pisarz i jego doskonałość angielskiego języka, którą doceniają Anglicy, jest dla nas po prostu nie tak ważna jak to, jakie on postacie przedstawił, o czym on opowiadał. Zaczęła się przygoda moja ze Smugą cienia od spotkania z Bolesławem Sulikiem. Bolesław Sulik był takim człowiekiem, który różnymi rzeczami się zajmował, spotykaliśmy się w Londynie. Syn generała Sulika, emigrant, ale już zaczął przyjeżdżać do Polski. No i jakby zrobić film z... z Conrada. No ale z Conrada trudno jest zrobić... z Josepha Conrada jest trudno zrobić... no, są filmy... no to jest... jak dotychczas nie udało się... nie udało się nikomu zrobić poza jednym filmem, który się nazywał Wygnaniec z wysp. Zresztą pamiętam Carol Reed chyba zrobił ten film. I to był film piękny i przejmujący. Wszystkie inne próby kończyły się niepowodzeniem. Uznano, że Joseph Conrad nie jest filmowym pisarzem. Nie! Zrobiono jeszcze Tajnego agenta. Hitchcock zrobił film Tajny agent.

Polish film 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: Shadow Line, Outcast of the Islands, Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad, Bolesław Sulik, General Nikodem Sulik, Carol Reed, Alfred Hitchcock

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008