JERZY STUHR on Kieślowski and Camera Buff
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29. 11. 2018. Department

The hero of the meeting - Jerzy Stuhr. The most frequently spoken word by him - Kieślowski.

‘I’d always thought that theatre was my professional path until this sad gentleman with a cigarette suddenly appeared. He came up to me in front of the theatre and said “There’s a role, not quite written yet; I won’t bother with it unless you play the character.” That’s how Krzysztof Kieślowski invited me to work on the film, “Blizna”(The Scar)… Actually, I didn’t know him, he was a debutant, from documentary film circles, a completely different environment. Everything said: ‘Don’t take it’. I did and it changed my life forever’, recalled Jerzy Stuhr.

Jerzy Stuhr, the ambassador of this year’s Cinergia European Film Forum was our guest before the screening of the film, “Camera Buff” by Krzysztof Kieślowski. Jerzy Stuhr is the face of the festival in the poster designed by Marta Frej, depicting the final shot from Kieślowski’s film “Camera Buff”. There are various interpretations of that image of the film’s main protagonist, an amateur film-maker who turns the camera back on himself.

‘The film had a different ending. The protagonist destroys the film that has caused problems by exposing it to light - it was the last scene - he was destroying the film. I was already working on a different film set when Kieślowski rang me up. – You must come. It doesn’t feel true. The ending is not true. Would you stop making films? Would I? It’s false! For Stuhr, "Camera Buff" is a film about an artist being born in a man, about the price you pay for it in your private life, and how lonely you are on this road. This movie concerned us, we were detached from our families then, we went on alone’, recalled Stuhr.

Possibly lonely, but not alone. Other crew members talked about working on “Camera Buff”: Jacek Petrycki - DOP, Andrzej Waltenberger – Art Director and Krzysztof Wierzbicki – Assictant Director (and also the director of the documentary film, “I’m so-so” about Krzysztof Kieślowski). Everyone remembered the times we worked on "Camera Buff" as a time spent with a group of friends, around their "guru", Kieślowski’, Wierzbicki recalled.

‘He was an authority for us. When we didn’t know what to do, Kieślowski knew. “Uncle knows”, he used to say and that was the end of the discussion. He was a fanatic for the truth. He gave everyone justice. He just had to plough along according to his path’, said Stuhr. There is a scene in “Amator”, which undermines the main character’s argument; the scene of a conversation between the manager and Mosz. An extremely risky scene, which during the period of "moral anxiety" could have been perceived as a betrayal of the rebellious ambitions of filmmakers. He was unable to lie or maneouver for a purpose. Go where it’s necessary. Despite the consequences’, he recalled.

They met for the first time while working on the film, “The Scar”. Subsequent roles: Antoni Gralak in “Spokój” and Filip Mosz in “Camera Buff” were written especially for Jerzy Stuhr to play.
“Camera Buff” was screened in the section “Con bravura”. Cinergia Festival and the Audiovisual Institute of the National Film Archive together with the Lodz Film School invite you to seeing other films from the section.

photos: Adrian Jaszczak