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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 4, 2009
The world of movies
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Popiełuszko-The Legend That Will Not Die
March 4, 2009   
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Director Rafał Wieczyński's film Popiełuszko-which depicts the story of an ordinary Roman Catholic priest who dared to oppose Poland's communist regime, becoming a tragic but towering moral authority-was released in cinemas in February.

The producers spent several years researching their subject before the cameras started rolling. A mountain of information on Father Jerzy Popiełuszko was compiled from people who had either known him or come into contact with him. The action unfolds against the backdrop of the groundswell which was starting to gather strength during the 1970s and 1980s and was soon to engulf the communist regime. The 1980 shipyard strikes are there as are the demonstrations against martial law.

Popiełuszko cost zl.12 million to make. "We decided that the film had to be made on a grand scale, given the importance of the subject," says producer Julita ¦wiercz-Wieczyńska. "We hired 250 actors and 1,000 extras, and filmed in 14 locations over seven months, taking in every season of the year."

On Oct. 19, 1984, three agents from Poland's fearsome communist security services (SB), kidnapped, tortured and killed Popiełuszko and then dumped his body in a reservoir. The murder unleashed an uproar in Poland. Half a million people attended Popiełuszko's funeral. The Catholic Church began his beatification process in 1997.

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