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The events of December 1970


Premiere of Man of Marble
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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It was shown in a cinema in Nowe Miasto, in a cinema called... Wars. Wars - exactly. It turned out that before the first showing of the film... there deliberately hadn't been a premiere so as not to alert the authorities to go and see the film but to try and introduce it surreptitiously. The whole square was full of people who wanted to get into the cinema. They couldn't really send in the police or other security services against these people who only wanted to get into the cinema. They just wanted to see the film. No one had seen it yet. This turned into a big issue which needed to be resolved very quickly and there was only one way to get out of it. Namely, the film had to be shown in other cinemas in order to diffuse the situation because there was still the remote possibility that audiences wouldn't like the film. Well, if they hadn't liked the film, then everyone could have breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, however, the audiences saw what we had done. They saw the manipulation of the authorities very clearly even though it was never shown on the screen. No one was surprised that for 12 years this film hadn't been able to find a way of coming into existence. There hadn't been that opportunity in Polish cinematography but now it was here, it existed.

To było pokazane w kinie na... na Nowym Mieście w kinie...

[Q] Wars.

Wars, dokładnie. Okazuje się, że przed pierwszym pokazem tego filmu – bo nie było żadnej premiery – specjalnie, żeby nie uprzedzać, żeby nie wołać władz, które by zobaczyły ten film, tylko żeby go tak chyłkiem wprowadzić. Cały plac wypełnił się tymi, którzy się chcieli dostać do kina. Trudno było wysyłać milicję, czy jakieś porządkowe organy przeciwko tym, którzy chcą wejść do kina. No przecież oni chcą zobaczyć film. Jeszcze nikt tego filmu nie widział. No w związku z tym zrobiła się afera, z której bardzo szybko trzeba było wyjść tylko jednym sposobem. Mianowicie pokazać film i w innych kinach, żeby rozładować tę sytuację, bo tu jeszcze była nadzieja – a nuż widowni się nie spodoba taki film. No jakby się nie spodobał, to wszystkim by spadł kamień z serca – a nie spodobał się. Ale niestety widownia dostrzegła to, co myśmy zrobili dokładnie. Zobaczyła całą tę manipulację władzy, która nigdy nie była pokazana na ekranie. Nikt się wtedy nie zdziwił, że ten film przez dwanaście lat nie mógł, że tak powiem, znaleźć miejsca, żeby powstać. W polskiej kinematografii nie było takiej szansy. No ale powstał już, zaistniał.

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: Nowe Miasto, Wars, Man of Marble

Duration: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008