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The ending of Man of Marble


The events of December 1970
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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In December, when Gomułka went... not Gomułka but Gierek went to the shipyards to talk with the workers to try and somehow calm down what was going on in Gdańsk and Szczecin and Gdynia. I thought about making a film and I turned to the political authorities, not just within the cinema but all of them, asking if I could make a film because this was an historical event that we couldn't ignore. I remember that I was shown material that had been made by a news team that happened to be there on the coast and who had dared to film what our friends... they didn't hold back and they weren't afraid. Those who were employed to make a news reel and a documentary simply filmed events the way they happened. I remember that I was watching this together with the secretary of the Department of Culture, comrade Kraśko, who, after watching this material, turned to me and said, 'See, you can't make this into a film'.

W grudniu, kiedy Gomółka pojechał – nie Gomółka, tylko Gierek – pojechał do Stoczni, żeby rozmawiać z robotnikami, żeby w jakiś sposób uspokoić to, co się działo w Gdańsku i w Szczecinie i w Gdyni. Ja myślałem o tym, żeby zrobić film i zwróciłem się do władz politycznych nie tylko kinematografii, ale w ogóle, żeby zrobić taki film, że to jest wydarzenie historyczne którego my nie możemy pominąć. I pamiętam, że pokazano mi materiały nakręcone przez przypadkową kronikę filmową, która znalazła się tam na Wybrzeżu i odważyła się nakręcić to, co nasi koledzy... Nie lenili się i nie przestraszyli się, ci którzy pracowali dla dokumentalnego filmu i dla kroniki filmowej, nakręcili po prostu sceny tak jak one wyglądały. Pamiętam, że oglądałem to z sekretarzem... z sekretarzem Wydziału Kultury, towarzyszem Kraśko, który po obejrzeniu tych materiałów powiedział do mnie: 'No, widzi Pan, nie da się z tego zrobić żadnego filmu'.

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: Gdańsk, Szczecin, Gdynia, Wincenty Kraśko, Edward Gierek, Stanisław Gomułka

Duration: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008