The Warsaw Voice » Culture » Monthly - October 23, 2002
Making Movies
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A knightly Tale
Andrzej Sobiecki By Andrzej Sobiecki   
Shooting is underway near Żnin and Biskupin in Wielkopolska province, on a new movie by Jerzy Hoffman, director of With Fire and Sword.

Hoffman is adapting Józef Ignacy Kraszewski's novel An Old Fairy Tale. The movie is a tale of Poland's pagan forefathers, set 100 years before the Christianization of the country. According to the director, the movie will be a saga of integrity, unfaithfulness, lust for power and love.

Using the original setting for the historical events in the land of the Polanie tribe, adds authenticity to the movie, shot by the reknowned Russian cinematographer Pavel Lebeshev, the man responsible for the look of The Barber of Siberia.

More than 40 actors and thousands of extras will be on location. Starring are: Michał Żebrowski, Marina Alexandrova, Bohdan Stupka, Małgorzata Foremniak and Daniel Olbrychski.
Hoffman, commanding the regiment of actors and extras, is assisted by three assistant directors: Jarosław Żamojda, Krzysztof Zbieranek and Zbigniew Gruza. It is exciting to see how the team of directors works—the better idea always wins, regardless of its owner.

On location, there are plenty of stressful moments. A short scene involving a stuntman and a horse ends in fiasco when the animal, instead of quietly waiting for a knight to mount, runs away deep into the forest. Easy to imagine Hoffman's irritation—one of his milder comments on the incident was the threat to postpone the completion of the shots from October to December.

The lead role belongs to Żebrowski, whose Ziemek, a wealthy hunter, and a mercenary knight of the Vikings, is a colorful and strong character. Żebrowski works intensively on the role, and to relax during the breaks he sings at the top of his voice. The young and beautiful Alexandrova, from Moscow's Academy of Acting, will play Ziemek's sweetheart; her name will not be Dziwa, as in the book, but still remains to be thought out.