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An attempt to make Lotna in colour


Lotna: A bad beginning
Andrzej Wajda Film-maker
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Two things went wrong in this film. First, we weren't able to find a horse that would have been the answer to our dreams. The way the mare, Lotna, is described she ought to have been a grey Arab. And we found a mare like this; Colonel Rómmel found her at the races, here in Warsaw. We began filming, but unfortunately, after a few days she died before my very eyes. One of the soldiers, all of whom were armed with French-style lances made of steel - I didn't realise they could be dangerous, but these soldiers were concerned that they were. Someone threw one of these lances just as the squadron moved forward and the lance was embedded in the ground. Jerzy Pichelski, who played the commander, moved forward after him from behind these horses who, so to speak... our Lotna, our mare impaled herself on it, not on the sharp tip because that was in the ground, but on the hand grip. The lance broke, the mare carried on running for a few more metres but then we managed to shoot her. This didn't bode well for our film. It was a bad beginning. After that we searched for a similar horse, but then we ran away so that no one could see that the horse wasn't the same, because we had some material that we'd already filmed.

Nie udało się w tym filmie... nie udały się dwie rzeczy. Pierwsze, nie udało... nie udało mi się znaleźć takiego konia, który byłby spełnieniem marzeń. Klacz Lotna tak jak jest opisana, no powinna być arabska, siwa. I taką klacz znaleźliśmy. Pułkownik Rómmel znalazł na wyścigach tu w Warszawie. Myśmy zaczęli z nią zdjęcia, ale niestety po kilku dniach ona zginęła na moich oczach. Jeden z żołnierzy, wszyscy byli uzbrojeni w lance, a to były lance typu francuskiego, stalowe, ja nie miałem świadomości, że to może być niebezpieczne, no ale ci żołnierze obawiali się. I ktoś rzucił tą lancę w momencie, kiedy ten szwadron ruszył z miejsca i lanca się wbiła w ziemię. A ponieważ Jerzy Pichelski, który grał rotmistrza, ruszył za nim, zza tych koni, które, że tak powiem, nasza Lotna, nasza klacz, nabiła się nie na ostrze, bo ostrzem była lanca wbita do ziemi, tylko na tą część, że tak powiem, gdzie lanca była trzymana. No i lanca się złamała, a klacz przebiegła jeszcze dobrych kilkaset metrów no i udało się ją zastrzelić. Źle to wróżyło naszemu filmowi. To był zły początek... zły początek. Potem szukaliśmy jakiegoś konia podobnego, potem żeśmy uciekali, tak żeby już nie było widać, że jest inny, bo mieliśmy już materiał, który był nakręcony.

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: Colonel Rómmel, Jerzy Pichelski

Duration: 2 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008