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Censors overstep the mark


Dziady is banned by the censor: start of the March events
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Ten cały cykl marcowy no zaczął się, jak to dobrze wiadomo od zdjęcia przez cenzurę „Dziadów” Mickiewicza w reżyserii Dejmka. Tam jest jeden element, nie! – jest dużo elementów w tym, co się działo w marcu, które mi trudno zinterpretować. Bo tak, zdjęcie tego przez cenzurę no...robi wrażenie kroku prowokacyjnego. A to między innymi polegało na tym, że gdyby zdjęli to po prostu to i już więcej to się nie pokazało, to byłaby innego rodzaju awantura, taka która się dzieje na zebraniach Związku Literatów na przykład. Natomiast było wiadomo, że jest to zdjęte, a jednocześnie szło ciągle jeszcze w teatrze. I w związku z tym do teatru szli zarówno ci ludzie, którzy się śpieszyli, żeby zobaczyć, jak i w pewnym momencie ci, którzy przypuszczając, że to już jest koniec, doszli do wniosku, że trzeba zademonstrować. Czyli dano możliwość demonstracji, którą trudno było... jakoś tego nie przewidywać, że do demonstracji w tych warunkach może dojść. I to jest taki, no od razu pierwszy element dla mnie niezupełnie jasny w mechanizmie tego, co się działo.

This whole March cycle began, as everyone knows, when the censors banned performances of Dziady by Mickiewicz, directed by Dejmek. There is one element – no, there are lots of elements in those March events that I find hard to interpret. Banning it by the censor gives the impression that this was provocation. Among other things, if they'd just banned it and it would never have arisen again there would have been a different row, the kind that occurs at meetings of the Association of Polish Writers, for example. Whereas in this case, everyone knew it was banned but it was still being performed at the theatre. So those who were coming to see it were either people who were rushing to see it or those who had decided that this was the end and so they had to get out and demonstrate. So it became possible to have a demonstration, and it was hard not to foresee that under the circumstances, a demonstration would happen. This, then, is the first aspect of those events which I find unclear.

Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).

Listeners: Marcel Łoziński Jacek Petrycki

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.

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: Dziady, Assosiation of Polish Writers, Adam Mickiewicz, Kazimierz Dejmek

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 11 March 2011