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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 4, 2009
The world of movies
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Challenge of Portraying Spirituality
March 4, 2009   
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Adam Woronowicz, who plays Father Jerzy Popiełuszko in the film that bears the priest's name, talks to Marcin Mierzejewski.

Do you have any personal memories of Father Popiełuszko?
I was nine years old when martial law was declared. I can remember when Father Popiełuszko's body was taken to the Białystok mortuary just after he was killed. A large crowd had gathered at the mortuary when the hearse with the coffin left for Warsaw. A lot of homes were displaying the priest's portrait. I knew that he was a hero and that something major had happened. But I was probably too young for the event to have had any influence on my work in the film.

What was the most difficult part of the role?
I think the hardest part was to convey this man's spirituality and charisma. The whole film, I think, should revolve around this hard-to-grasp extraordinariness. This is always the hardest part of playing great people and great personalities. Here, we're also dealing with a spiritual man, a man who is even looked up to as a saint, a man who not only talked about God, but lived Him every day. It was exceptionally difficult to show this without being trite and to portray his faith as something concrete. It was up to me to give the character flesh and blood, to make him someone close to us, not someone standing aloof from ordinary people.

Are there any particular moments during filming that will stay with you?
Special moments like that are connected with filming in the Church of the Brother Martyrs in Bydgoszcz. The liturgical robe, in which Father Popiełuszko said his last Mass, is preserved there. I'll certainly never forget the moment I put this robe on. It was extraordinarily emotional.

There were lots of other emotional moments. It often happened that, after filming, a lot of people who remembered those times would come up to us and thank us for our work. Some got jobs as extras so they could follow the filming at close quarters. Sometimes they even got their children involved and treated the film set as a kind of history lesson.

More information: www.popieluszko.pl
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