Andrzej Wajda – Beginnings of Polish cinematography (38/222)

It’s peculiar that this new cinematography was created by people who… actually it’s not peculiar, it’s a happy coincidence, that this was created by people who before the war formed a discussion group, what we would today call a cinema club. What sort of discussions they held, what they were about, which films they watched, what they talked about – we don’t know much about this. What we do know, however, are their names because these are the people who essentially created the film school. It’s interesting that post-war Polish cinematography had its beginnings in ’45 with the following operation. The Falang and other studios in Warsaw had burned down so the only support for new films could be in a different city. This is why all the film-makers gathered in Łódź; Łódź wasn’t far from Warsaw and there was a large sports hall there. The sports hall was quickly turned into a film room, and that’s how a film company came to be set up on Łąkowa Street in which the first Polish post-war films began to be made. But we didn’t have any equipment because it had all been destroyed and didn’t exist any more. Then, since the the film production personnel was made up of a military unit known as the spearhead of the Polish Army, our older colleagues set off for Berlin and brought back whatever they were able to from the German film company, Ufa. So the hoist from which I took shots and to which the camera was attached had been taken from Berlin, and a whole lot of other equipment that we were still working with in the ’50s had been looted and brought back as a kind of reparation for the war. That’s how the film company on Łąkowa in Łódź was created and the directors were people who came from this spearhead, so everyone had a military rank and there was a clear hierarchy. Aleksander Ford, who was a film director, had the highest rank – he was a colonel so he was in charge and below him, in various ranks, were directors of photography and production directors. Young people also came along wanting to join in the process of creating cinematography: Stanisław Różewicz, Jerzy Kawalerowicz.

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