An adaptation of the novel by Kazimierz Brandys, in which the war is only a background to describing the fate of a disastrous, unfulfilled love. During the occupation, Felicja tragically falls in love with a friend from her theatre, Wiktor. When he is unjustly accused and wanted by the gestapo, she hides him in her apartment, in hope that he might return the feeling. Felicia’s sacrifice however might be too big of a burden for Wiktor, who wants to cut off from his war past. “There is a saying that man chose a woman in order for his failures to have eyes and a face” – that is how she will look back on her life choices, many years later during a trip to Paris. The film is a display of two actor personalities. Barbara Krafftówna as Felicja created one of the most memorable female characters in Polish film history, while Zbigniew Cybulski established the anti-hero and coward role, one that intriguingly corresponds with his creation of Maciek Chełmicki in “Ashes and Diamonds” (1958), the Wajda film that is forever tied with his emploi.
About the director:
Wojciech Jerzy Has (1925-2000) – he belonged to the same generation of authors of the Polish Film School as Andrzej Wajda and Andrzej Munk. He began with making educational films and documentaries. His feature film debut was the adaptation of Marek Hłasko’s novel “Pętla” (“The Noose”), in 1957. In his work, Has strayed from political issues and went against the prevailing war theme, concentrating instead on creating unique film worlds. Although many of his pictures are adaptations of literary works – the melodramatic “Pożegnania”(“Farewells”) by Stanisław Dygat, or the oniric “Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą” (“The Hourglass Sanatorium”) by Bruno Schulz, the director remained surprisingly true to his poetics. Critics point to recurring elements in his work: a psychological depth to his characters, and using the motif of the journey and complementary symbolism in his narratives. The film that brought him international recognition was the visionary “Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie” (“The Saragossa Manuscript”), listed as one of the greatest achievements in cinematography, alongside works of artists like Luis Bunuel and Martin Scorsese. Has also taught directing and received a honorary degree from the Film School in Łódź, also acting as provost for the institution for 6 years during the 1990s. In 1999 he received the lifetime achievement award from the Polish Film Academy.
Most important films:
- 1957 „The Noose”
- 1958 „Farewells”
- 1962 “How to be Loved”
- 1964 „The Saragossa Manuscript”
- 1966 „The Codes”
- 1973 „The Hourglass Sanatorium”
- 1988 „The Tribulations of Baltazar Kober”
Author: Mikołaj Góralik
Translation to English: Katarzyna Matej