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Eroica
dir. Andrzej Munk / Poland 1957 / 78’
subtitles: English

Cast

Scherzo alla Polacca: Edward Dziewoński, Barbara Połomska, Ignacy Machowski, Leon Niemczyk, Kazimierz Opaliński, Zofia Czerwińska, Jerzy Felczyński, Roman Hubczenko, Zygmunt Listkiewicz, Eleonora Lorentz, Bogdan Baer, Stanisław Bareja, Emil Karewicz, Tomasz Lengren, Eugeniusz Szewczyk, Jerzy Turek, Roman Wilhelmi, Tomasz Zaliwski; Ostinato lugubre: Kazimierz Rudzki, Henryk Bąk, Mariusz Dmochowski, Roman Kłosowski, Bogumił Kobiela, Józef Kostecki, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Józef Nowak, Wojciech Siemion, Ignacy Machowski

awards

Mar Del Plata IFF 1959 – FIPRESCI Prize; Warsaw Mermaid – Polish Film Critics’ Award for best Polish feature film of 1958

Film description

One of the most important works of the Polish film school. In Eroica, Munk demythologises Polish wartime lore by presenting an iconoclastic, revisionist take on heroism in two acts. The first act, entitled Scherzo alla Polacca, is a satirical story centred on Dzidziuś Górkiewicz, an idler who becomes accidentally involved in Warsaw’s uprising against the German occupation in 1944. Górkiewicz unintentionally takes on a dangerous mission, which he completes with bravado, but his deed turns out to be futile. As the act closes, Górkiewicz’s ultimate gesture provides an unexpected twist.

The second act, Ostinato lugubre, is set in a German POW camp after the uprising’s collapse. Dispirited Polish officers are cramped into barracks. Munk shows that in such conditions even the noblest patriotic virtues can become caricatures. Only one thing maintains the prisoners’ sanity and resolve – their thoughts of lieutenant Zawistowski, the only man to successfully escape from the camp. Yet the escape is also a myth and one for which a high price will be paid unbeknownst to the officers whom it sustains.

While some critics accused Munk of anti-heroism, Eroica in fact gave war heroes a genuinely human face.


Prepared by: Mirella Napolska-Jarocka

Information about director

Andrzej Munk

Andrzej Munk is a film director and cinematographer responsible for some of the most prominent works of the Polish Film School. Born 16 October 1921 in Cracow, he died tragically on 20 September 1961 in a car crash.

Munk began film studies at the Polish National Film School in Łódź in 1948, with a double major in cinematography and directing, and graduated in 1951. During his studies, he shot many films of his colleagues and made his directorial debut with the documentary Art of the Young (1949). In 1950, while still studying, the Documentary Production Company in Warsaw hired him for a five-year stint as the cinematographer for the Polish Newsreel company, and later as an independent documentary filmmaker.

Shortly after completing that film, Munk joined the newly formed film collective, Zespół Filmowy ‘Kadr.’ Meeting writer Jerzy Stefan Stawiński had a tremendous impact on the director’s work. Stawiński, a prose and incipient screenwriter at the time, went on to co-author the greatest successes of Polish Film School. Munk worked with him on three films, Man on the Tracks (1956), Eroica (1957) and Bad Luck (1957), filmed at Zespół Realizatorów Filmowych ‘Kamera.’ The impact of social trends and totalitarian systems on individuals is a common theme in Andrzej Munk’s feature films. Munk employs aspects of the grotesque, uses paradox, and irony, forms that set him apart from other Polish School filmmakers. 


Filmpography

1949 Sztuka młodych / The Art of the Young (doc., short)

1950 Zaczęło się w Hiszpanii / It Began in Spain (doc., short)

1951 Kierunek – Nowa Huta! / Destination – Nowa Huta! (doc., short)

1951 Nauka bliżej życia / Science Closer to Life (doc., short)

1952 Bajka / A Fairy Tale (doc., short)

1952 Pamiętniki chłopów / Peasant Diaries (doc., short)

1953 Kolejarskie słowo / A Railwayman’s Word (doc., short)

1954 Gwiazdy muszą płonąć / Stars Must Burn (co-dir., doc., short)

1955 Niedzielny poranek. Scherzo / One Sunday Morning. Scherzo (short)

1958 Spacerek staromiejski / A Walk in the Old City of Warsaw (short)

1955 Błękitny krzyż / The Men of the Blue Cross

1956 Człowiek na torze / Man on the Track

1957 Eroica. Symfonia bohaterska w dwóch częściach / Eroica. Heroic Symphony in Two Parts (part I: Scherzo alla Pollacca, part II: Ostinato lugubre)

1960 Zezowate szczęście / Bad Luck

1963 Pasażerka / Passenger

 

TV

1957(1972) Eroica. Con bravura (TV)

1959 Wieczory generalskie / Generals’ Evenings (TV Theatre)

1960 Pasażerka / Passenger (TV Theatre)

1961 Arlekinada / Harlequinade (TV Theatre)

 

Polska Kronika Filmowa (PKF) / Polish National Newsreel (PNN)

1950 Wiec w Baranowiczach, XI 1950 / Mass meeting in Baranowicze, XI 1950 (doc., short)

1950 Dekoracje, efekty nocne, XI 1950 / Decorations, night effects, XI 1950 (doc., short)

1950 Akademia ku czci Józefa Bema, XII 1950 / A ceremony in memory of Józef Bem, XII 1950 (doc., short)

1951 Wystawa Młodzież w walce o pokój, I 1951 / The exhibition Młodzież w walce o pokój (Youth Fighting for Peace), I 1951 (doc., short)

1951 Fabryka żarówek wykonała roczny plan, I 1951 / The light bulb factory has fulfilled the annual plan, I 1951 (doc., short)

1951 Fabryka penicyliny, PKF 1951, nr 3 / The penicillin factory, PNN 1951, no. 3 (doc., short)

1951 Sztuka Zwycięstwo w Teatrze Nowym, II 1951 / The play Zwycięstwo (Victory) in ‘Nowy’ Theatre, II 1951 (doc., short)

1951 Walka z alkoholizmem, PKF 1951, nr 8 / Fighting with alcoholism, PNN 1951, no. 8 (doc., short)

1951 Dom Dziecka im. św. Gertrudy, PKF 1951, nr 10 / St. Gertrude’s orphanage, PNN 1951, no. 10 (doc., short)

1951 Windziarki na Muranowie (dokrętka do materiału Zbigniewa Raplewskiego), PKF 1951, nr 10 / Lift attendants in Muranów (additional shooting for Zbigniew Raplewski’s material), PNN 1951, no. 10 (doc., short)

1951 Mecz piłki nożnej CWKS – Unia, PKF 1951, nr 14 / Football match CWKS – Unia, PNN 1951, no. 14 (co-dir., doc., short)

1951 Zabawa na Mariensztacie, PKF 1951, nr 23 / Party in Mariensztat, PNN 1951, no. 23 (co-dir., doc., short)

1951 Miejski szpital położniczy w Warszawie, PKF 1951, nr 23 / City Maternity Hospital in Warsaw, PNN 1951, no. 23 (doc., short)

1951 Zespół Aleksandrowa, VII 1951 / The Alexandrov’s Band, VII 1951 (doc., short)

1951 Rumuński Zespół Pieśni i Tańca, PKF 1951, nr 37 / Romanian Song and Dance Group, PNN 1951, no. 37 (doc., short)

1956 Komeda i jego zespół, PKF 1956, nr 36 / Komeda and His Band, PNN 1956, no. 36 (doc., short)

1959 Wydanie (anty)jubileuszowe, PKF 1959, nr 52 AB, wydanie specjalne z okazji jubileuszu 15-lecia PKF / The (Anti)celebratory Version, PNN 1959, no. 52 AB, special edition on the 15th anniversary of PNN (doc., short)

Prepared by: Mirella Napolska-Jarocka

Footer

director: Andrzej Munk
screenplay: Jerzy Stefan Stawiński, based on a short stories by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński
cinematography: Jerzy Wójcik
editing: Jadwiga Zajicek
music: Jan Krenz
cast: Scherzo alla Polacca: Edward Dziewoński, Barbara Połomska, Ignacy Machowski, Leon Niemczyk, Kazimierz Opaliński, Zofia Czerwińska, Jerzy Felczyński, Roman Hubczenko, Zygmunt Listkiewicz, Eleonora Lorentz, Bogdan Baer, Stanisław Bareja, Emil Karewicz, Tomasz Lengren, Eugeniusz Szewczyk, Jerzy Turek, Roman Wilhelmi, Tomasz Zaliwski; Ostinato lugubre: Kazimierz Rudzki, Henryk Bąk, Mariusz Dmochowski, Roman Kłosowski, Bogumił Kobiela, Józef Kostecki, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Józef Nowak, Wojciech Siemion, Ignacy Machowski
producer: Stanisław Adler
production: Zespół Filmowy „Kadr”
sales: Studio Filmowe „Kadr”
awards: Mar Del Plata IFF 1959 – FIPRESCI Prize; Warsaw Mermaid – Polish Film Critics’ Award for best Polish feature film of 1958
language: Polish
colouration: b&w
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