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Disappointment with the School of Fine Arts

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First impressions of the film school in Łódź
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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At first, the school itself didn't fill me with delight. Firstly, because it was very political and I had learned to be more cautious in this matter. I didn't involve myself too much in the life of the school which was expressed even in Łódź , because students gave their own lectures. I remember Andrzej Munk giving a lecture on 'Will colour film catch on?' in a very convincing and novel way. The subject of colour film was an issue for us. We only ever watched colour films, no one made them, but would colour film catch on? I remember that Andrzej Munk first gave a speech from one side of the table, a fiery speech against, saying it was pointless because it was only an imitation. The more cinema tended towards imitation, we would have olfactory cinema - misfortune. And he convinced us completely that there was no future for colour film. Then, he went to the other side of the table and gave a fiery, rousing speech in favour of colour film saying that whether we like it or not, colour film will prevail and remain. These kinds of intellectual games strongly reminded me of our talks at the School of fine Arts in Kraków even though they were less common at film school and the political passions were stronger. What was immediately apparently here was the activity of the basic party organisation, which was something we had not felt at all at the School of Fine Arts.

Sama szkoła na początku też nie budziła mojego zachwytu. Po pierwsze dlatego, że to była szkoła bardzo upolityczniona, a ja już byłem ostrożniejszy w tej sprawie, niespecjalnie się angażowałem w życie szkolne, które też w Łodzi miało swoje, że tak powiem, przejawy. Dlatego, że z kolei odbywały się takie wykłady studentów. Andrzej Munk wygłosił, pamiętam bardzo w taki przekonywujący i pomysłowy sposób: Czy film kolorowy może się przyjąć? Bo to był wtedy nasz problem. Myśmy tylko widzieli kolorowe filmy, nikt nie robił kolorowych filmów, ale czy kolorowy film może się przydać? Pamiętam, że Andrzej Munk wygłosił przemówienie... najpierw z jednej strony stołu do nas płomienne przemówienie przeciwko, że to nie ma żadnego sensu, bo to jest imitacja, im bardziej kino idzie w stronę imitacji będzie wszystko węchowe jeszcze – nieszczęście. I przekonał nas całkowicie, że film kolorowy nie ma przyszłości. Wtedy przeszedł na drugą stronę stołu i wygłosił płomienne, porywające przemówienie za filmem kolorowym, że czy to nam sie podoba czy nie, film kolorowy i tak zwycieży i zostanie. Tak że takie zabawy intelektualne bardzo mi przypominały nasze rozmowy w Akademii Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie, no ale one były znacznie rzadsze w Szkole Filmowej i większe były namiętności polityczne. Bardzo tutaj od razu było widać działanie na przykład to, czego nie odczuwaliśmy zupełnie w Akademii Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie, mianowicie działania podstawowej organizacji partyjnej.

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: Łódż, School of Fine Arts, Film School, Kraków, Andrzej Munk

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008