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How the people's government dealt with undesirable citizens

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The second trend of resistance
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Drugi nurt oporu to, powiedziałbym, takie dwa nurty, które wiązały się właśnie z problemem pustyni kulturowej, o której już tutaj wspomniałem, już wspominałem tu o chuliganach. To nawet jeśli pominiemy ten mój... moje domniemanie, że pewną rolę odgrywała tu taka samoobrona przed łamaniem więzi społecznych, bo to było jednak margines zjawiska, to istotniejsze jest to, że to była próba tworzenia kultury, podkultury: niskiej, małej, bandyckiej, ale jakiejś no – pustyni, bo próba budowania nowej kultury robiona była tu, postanowiono stworzyć nową kulturę niszcząc, kompletnie niszcząc starą. Tutaj taki interesujący, jak mi się zdaje, wątek. W tej budowie nowej kultury to jest w tym jak sądzę coś, ale już tylko cień, ślad zapotrzebowania mas, które dokonują rewolucji, wchodzą do śródmieścia, biorą pałace i chciałyby zawłaszczyć całe dziedzictwo ludzkości, a więc również kulturę. I trzeba im dać tę kulturę w pigułkach. Oni chcą być mądrzy tak jak wszyscy inni. Chcą być właścicielami kultury. Ale to już jest w tej... w tym zjawisku, jakie się u nas oto pojawiło, to już jest to cień, ślad choć jest dla tych moich kolegów z Marymontu to, że było pięć książek, które trzeba przeczytać i się wie wszystko, prawda? I się jest człowiekiem kultury. Obrazy są takie, które oni rozumieją i wszystko na nich widać i o co chodzi, to było niesłychanie ważne, niesłychanie ważne, ale to już tylko cień. Natomiast podstawowa sprawa to jest oczywiście zniszczenie więzi społecznej, zniszczenie, stworzenie czystej karty, na której będzie można pisać od nowa i wyposażenie w pełnię władzy centralnego kierownictwa partyjno-państwowego. I efektem tamtego była pustynia kulturowa, ponieważ ta nowa kultura budowana nie była kulturą życia codziennego, ona właściwie nie odpowiadała przecież na pytanie jak żyć normalnie, inaczej niż jak żyć w walce, jak żyć w służbie idei. Nam działaczom ona odpowiadała co mamy robić, ale nawet gdyby nią się wszyscy przejęli, to i tak by nie wiedzieli co robić, bo ona mówiła: wygłaszać odczyty, roznosić gazetki, chodzić na zebrania, prowadzić zebrania, robić odprawy, narady i tramtam, sramtam. To to jest dla małej ilości ludzi odpowiedź na pytanie jak żyć. A kultura musi przede wszystkim odpowiadać na pytanie jak żyć. I w tę pustynię wchodziły te dwie propozycje: jedna bandycka, a druga bikiniarska, która miała być takim rzekomo amerykańskim stylem życia. Tak to jestem to skłonny dziś nazwać. Ja myślę, że to jest ruch kontr-kultury.

The second trend of opposition, I'd say there were two trends which were connected with the problem of the cultural desert that I talked about earlier, I've already mentioned the hooligans. Even if we forget about my assumption that self-defence was playing a role in the face of the breakdown of social bonds, because this was incidental and the major issue was that this was an attempt at creating a culture, a low, sub-culture that was small, criminal, but well - a desert, because the attempt at building a new culture here - the decision had been made to create a new culture completely destroying the old one. I think we come up against an interesting topic here. In the building of this new culture there is, I think, only a shadow, a trace of the needs of the masses who make the revolution, who enter the heart of the city, take the palaces and would like to take over the whole of human heritage, including culture. And this culture needs to be dispensed to them a dose at a time. They wanted to be as smart as everyone else was. They wanted to own culture that was there, in the phenomenon that appeared among us then, it is a shadow, a trace although for those friends of mine from Marymont, it was enough to read these five books that everyone read and then they'd know everything, wouldn't they? Then they'd be men of culture. There were images which they understood, everything was clear there, and they knew what it was about, it was very important, very important. But this is only a shadow. The basic issue, of course, was the destruction of social bonds, the destruction, leaving a clean sheet on which everything could be written from the beginning, and the granting of the right to full power to the centralised government of national party members. The effect of this was a cultural desert because this new culture wasn't built on the culture of daily life, it didn't answer the basic question of how to live normally, which wasn't the same as living through conflict, serving an idea. We activists were given an answer of what we were to do but even if everyone had taken it seriously, they still wouldn't have known what to do we were being told: give lectures, distribute pamphlets, attend meetings, lead meetings, hold discussions, this, that and the other. This answer to the question how must we live was only adequate for a small group of people. Culture must, above all, tell people how they should live. In order to fill this cultural desert, there were two proposals: one was criminal, and the other was the 'beatnik' culture which was supposed to reflect the American way of life. I'm inclined to call it that today. I think it's a counter-cultural movement.

The late Polish activist, Jacek Kuroń (1934-2004), had an influential but turbulent political career, helping transform the political landscape of Poland. He was expelled from the communist party, arrested and incarcerated. He was also instrumental in setting up the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR) and later became a Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

Listeners: Jacek Petrycki Marcel Łoziński

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.

Film director Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris in 1940. He graduated from the Film Directing Department of the National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1971. In 1994, he was nominated for an American Academy Award and a European Film Academy Award for the documentary, 89 mm from Europe. Since 1995, he has been a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science awarding Oscars. He lectured at the FEMIS film school and the School of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. He ran documentary film workshops in Marseilles. Marcel Łoziński currently lectures at Andrzej Wajda’s Master School for Film Directors. He also runs the Dragon Forum, a European documentary film workshop.

Tags: Marymont

Duration: 3 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008