Wojaczek

1999

The last days of the short and tragic life of Rafał Wojaczek – a poet and rebel who committed suicide at the age of 27.

Fueled by his self-destructive life, his poetry made a lasting impression on generations of Poles. He drunk and fought and walked through windows creating his myth in the myth-less reality of communist Poland. Confronting death on a daily basis, he tried to tame it. He underwent psychiatric treatment, fought alcoholism, and exposed himself to constant conflicts with the law. His life and work were so mixed up that they became one.

Kept in black and white as a concise record of a poet who “lived as he wrote and wrote as he lived” the film goes beyond the limits of an individual’s life, creating a more universal look at the condition of the artist in a suffocating reality. The harsh description of mental and emotional tensions between a sensitive individual and the environment is set in the depressing realities of Poland in the 1960s. In the scenery of dirty streets, railway stations, cheap bars serving vodka and herring, the drama of a young man takes place.

Wojaczek received over 20 awards at international festivals and became an inspiration for many films, including: Last days by Gus Van Sant, a Kurt Cobain story; Control by Anton Corbijn about Ian Curtis, the leader of Joy Division; and Ida by Paweł Pawlikowski among others.

with Krzysztof Siwczyk (Rafał Wojaczek), Dominika Ostałowska, Andrzej Mastalerz, Elżbieta Okupska, Mirosława Lombardo, Jan Bógdoł, Andrzej Wojaczek, Jan Skrzek, Robert Gawliński, Janusz Styczeń, Paweł Fesołowicz, Andrzej Hudziak, Andrzej Chłopecki, Maciej Melecki, Marek Kiedroń, Witold Siwiński, Małgorzata Madejowska, Tadeusz Pławecki, Adam Bauman, Wanda Majewska, Bolesław Majewski.

directed by Lech Majewski screenplay Lech Majewski, Maciej Melecki cinematography Adam Sikora production design Katarzyna Jarnuszkiewicz costumes Małgorzata Zacharska sound Ryszard Krupa edited by Eliot Ems production TVP, Henryk Romanowski – Filmcontract

PRIZES:

Prix Don Quixote, Best Independent Film of 2000, Barcelona; International Federation of Film Societies Prize 2001; Best Actor Nomination, European Academy Awards, Paris 2000; Best European Film, Corato 2000; Grand Prix, Klajpeda 2000; Golden KeysBest Director, Best Cinematography, Trencianske Teplice 2000; Prix special de European Cinema Forum, Strasbourg 2000

REVIEWS:

“Just as Wojaczek’s nihilism has a core of passionate wit, so too does the movie… Gorgeously grim black and white, Mr. Majewski’s camerawork has an almost classical austerity.”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“The haunting new film by Lech Majewski, compounded by the striking visual style, Wojaczek can linger on for months after seeing the film only once.”
Ray Privett, Cinema Scope USA

“Lech Majewski’s Wojaczek is a virtuoso achievement!”
Doris Meirhenrich, Berlinale

“Lech Majewski’s Wojaczek creates a new style for a biopic – much more powerful and incisive than the traditional one.”
Kerstin Decker, Der Tagesspiegel

„Painter/poet/filmmaker Lech Majewski directs Wojaczek with unswerving intensity.”
Ray Murray, Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema

“Superb and surprisingly witty. Wojaczek operates on a deadpan comic tone established by its achingly beautiful sense of visual composure. Excellent!”
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Black-and-white elegance…”
J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“Critic’s choice!”
Time Out London

Screenplays