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~ psubrat
opis raczej nie zachęca, lepiej skusić się na inne tytuły Munka
~ courty
jest na yt, ale w okrojonej wersji (49') - zwyczajna propagandowa laurka dla gornikow
~ blyszczacyszesciostrzal
super, widziałem
~ aloneintokyo
Gwiazdy muszą płonąć - liczy się kolektyw? ;)
~ noir
Stars Must Burn
Gwiazdy muszą płonąć
dir. Andrzej Munk, Witold Lesiewicz / Poland 1954 / 63’
subtitles: English


State Award Committee 1955 – Special Mention from

Film description

An example of Munk’s creative approach to film technique – this was his attempt to shatter the conventions of social realist documentary.

The stars of the title refer to lights placed above the gates of coalmines that had achieved 100% of the norms set out in their annual coal extraction plans. The star over the Zagórze mine’s gate has been extinguished. Although the norm was nearly met, it is common knowledge that the mine is dying – the coal is running out. The only hope is that the oldest deposits, known only from antiquated plans, have not been fully exhausted. But, in order to inspect them, it is necessary to pass through an abandoned shaft; the excursion carries fatal risks…

Propaganda fades into the background when faced with the dramatic tension that accompanies the perilous expedition and Munk marries this tension with a careful observation of the miners’ work. The director’s successful escape from propaganda into real life is encapsulated in such subtle details as the miners saluting each other with God bless, rather than the prescribed Greetings, comrade.

Prepared by: Mirella Napolska-Jarocka

Information about directors

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. 


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



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)

Witold Lesiewicz

Lesiewicz was born in Białystok in 1922. He majored in film direction at The Polish National Film School in Łódź. After graduating, he worked at the Documentary and Feature Film Production Company in Warsaw. A director and screenwriter of feature and documentary films, Lesiewicz also worked extensively on Polish television programmes, notably on the Doktor Murek series and Television Theatre’s Wieczory generalskie, among others.

Selected filmography

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

1956 Zielony i Czarny Śląsk / Green and Black Silesia (doc.)

1963 Pasażerka / Passenger (co-dir.)

1964 Nieznany / The Uknown

1967 Klub szachistów (TV, short)

1972 Bolesław Śmiały / King Boleslaus the Bold

Prepared by: Mirella Napolska-Jarocka


director: Andrzej Munk, Witold Lesiewicz
screenplay: Andrzej Munk, Witold Lesiewicz
cinematography: Zbigniew Raplewski, Romuald Kropat
editing: Maria Orłowska, Jadwiga Zajicek
music: Jan Krenz
producer: Wilhelm Hollender
production: Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych (Warszawa)
sales: Filmoteka Narodowa / Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych
source of print: Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych
awards: State Award Committee 1955 – Special Mention from
language: Polish
colouration: b&w
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