“Potop Redivivus” by Jerzy Hoffman will open the 39. Gdynia Film Festival

“Potop Redivivus” by Jerzy Hoffman will open the 39. Gdynia Film Festival

In 1974, at the 1. Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdańsk, “Potop” by Jerzy Hoffman was awarded the Golden Lions. 40 years later, the Festival viewers will be the first to watch “Potop Redivivus”. The film, digitally reconstructed by the National Film Archive, was re-edited and shortened under the supervision of the very director.

“Potop Redivivus” will be presented directly after the Opening Ceremony of the 39. Gdynia Film Festival, on 15 September 2014 in the evening. On the next day, a press conference will take place, which will be attended by the creators of this one of the most famous films in the history of the Polish cinematography. The premiere of the “Potop Redivivus” film has been taken under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski.

“Potop Redivivus” is a project by the National Film Archive, which has emerged out of the need of presenting “Potop” to the contemporary audience on the big and small screen in an excellent quality and a new, attractive form. The reconstruction was made within the Digital Repository of the National Film Archive, thanks to the support of the Polish Film Institute and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, with the co-participation of TVN S.A. The film, comprising of two parts, has been subjected to full conservation and reconstruction, performed by the Budapest Magyar Filmlabor and the Warsaw Studio Produkcyjne Orka. The carefully restored film was newly edited under the artistic supervision of Jerzy Hoffman and Jerzy Wójcik. Under the supervision of the director, a version with dynamised narration of the film was created, lasting 185 min. Editing was performed by the valued editor Marcin Kot Bastkowski, Jerzy Hoffman’s co-operator at making “Ogniem i mieczem” and “1920 Bitwa Warszawska”.

“I thought that it is worth showing the restored film to everyone who could not see it in the cinema, especially to young people who know “Potop” only as seen via television sets, VHS and DVD discs. But will the contemporary viewer want to spend over 5 hours in the cinema?” Jerzy Hoffman says. “Hence, I have recreated “Potop” into a three-hour version. A film which lacks none of the most important threads, loses nothing of its readability, and takes on an incredible speed at the same time.”

“The most difficult moments were those when I had to cut dialogue scenes in long shots. On the one hand, I could not resist admiration for the actors – there are no misfit roles in “Potop” – on the other hand, I had to dynamise those shots,” says Marcin Kot Bastkowski. “The only scene which I left untouched is the duel of Kmicic and Wołodyjowski. This is my tribute to Zenon Piórecki – the editor of the original version. This minute for Piórecki is at the same time a tribute to everyone who worked on this film.”

“Potop” by Jerzy Hoffman based on Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel received not only the first Gdańsk Lions but also the audience award, while the performer of Andrzej Kmicic’s role, Daniel Olbrychski – received the actor award. In 1975, the film was nominated for the Oscar, which began an unusual series of success stories of the Polish cinematography on the international arena. Actors’ creations, including those by Daniel Olbrychski, Małgorzata Braunek, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Kazimierz Wichniarz or Franciszek Pieczka, are considered film icons this day. “Potop” was seen in cinemas by 27 billion viewers, which gives it the third place in the history of the Polish cinematography.

“Based on the fully digitally reconstructed film, a considerably shorter film was created, being a peculiar condensation of the monumental work, comprising all the significant narrative threads. Sharing the film with the audience, we express our hope that watching a new-old work will turn out to be a valuable and unforgettable experience,” says the Director of the National Film Archive, Tadeusz Kowalski.

“The decision of opening the Festival with a screening of the restored “Potop” seemed to be natural. It is a beautiful way not only of honoring the anniversary of the film and the Festival but also of a completely new meeting with a show that has witnessed the growing up of generations of the Polish viewers, including me myself. Since I can recall, “Potop” was always with us, although many of its outstanding creators had left us. I want to dedicate the show in the Musical Theatre in Gdynia to Ms. Małgorzata Braunek, whose Oleńka is one of the iconic female roles in the history of the Polish cinema,” says the Artistic Director of the 39. Gdynia Film Festival, Michał Oleszczyk.

The film will enter the silver screens in the autumn of 2014.