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Passenger. History, Music, Opera
Pasażerka. Historia, muzyka, opera
dir. Eliza Orzechowska, Katarzyna Kuszyńska / Poland 2010 / 25’
Varia
subtitles: English

Cast

Zofia Posmysz, David Pountney, Waldemar Dąbrowski, Mariusz Treliński, Gabriel Chmura, Michał Bristger, Johan Engels, Agnieszka Rehlis, Elena Kelessidi, Artur Ruciński, Aleksander Laskowski

Film description

The unique and delicate subject of this documentary is an opera by Mieczysław Weinberg about Auschwitz. The Passenger is likely the only Opera about a concentration camp; like Munk’s film about the subject, it is an adaptation of a story by Zofia Posmysz, who describes the genesis of the story, while actors, director David Pountney, the conductor, screenwriter and other crew talk about the operatic version of the show. This film also pays homage to Weinberg, a Polish-Russian composer with Jewish roots, a fabulous artist, who has been somewhat forgotten over the years, but whose work is currently experiencing a renaissance among critics. This opera, written in 1968, was recognized by some critics as a masterpiece, but premiered only after the author’s death.

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. 


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)

Eliza Orzechowska

Eliza Orzechowska is a Varsovian, a musicologist by education and journalist by trade. For several years, she has worked with the TVP Kultura channel as well as the National Audiovisual Institute, Polish Public Radio, and the National Center for Culture.

Selected filmography

2010 Pasażerka. Historia, muzyka, opera / Passenger. History, Music, Opera (doc., co-dir.)

Katarzyna Kuszyńska

A resident of Krakow, Katarzyna Kuszyńska is a graduate of the Anthropology Department at Jagiellonian University. She has worked with the TVP Kultura channel for several years as well as been involved with Fundacja Dobrego Odbioru propagating media education.

Selected filmography

2010 Pasażerka. Historia, muzyka, opera / Passenger. History, Music, Opera (doc., co-dir.)

Prepared by: Mirella Napolska-Jarocka

Footer

director: Eliza Orzechowska, Katarzyna Kuszyńska
screenplay: Eliza Orzechowska, Katarzyna Kuszyńska
cinematography: Tomasz Kowalewski, Jadwiga Szałańska
editing: Paweł Matula
cast: Zofia Posmysz, David Pountney, Waldemar Dąbrowski, Mariusz Treliński, Gabriel Chmura, Michał Bristger, Johan Engels, Agnieszka Rehlis, Elena Kelessidi, Artur Ruciński, Aleksander Laskowski
producer: Łukasz Borzęcki
production: Unlimited Film Operations, Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa
sales: Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa
language: Polish
colouration: colour
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