Warsaw Uprising: the past regains colour
by Dorota Hartwich
- Jan Komasa tells the story of the Warsaw Uprising with unseen war film footage from the time
A total of six hours of original material documenting the time of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, 1,440 hours of colouring and restoration, 112,000 images: these are just some of the numbers from Warsaw Uprising [+see also:
film profile], a feature-length film by Jan Komasa, whose intent was to produce “the first non-fiction war film to be made out of images taken from authentic news film footage from the time, in colour.” The piece of work will be distributed today and will be in Polish theatres with Next Film.
After the success of Suicide Room [+see also:
interview: Jakub Gierszal - Shooting S…
interview: Jan Komasa
film profile], which talked about the theme of a new generation dependent on the Internet (a film awarded by the Polish Film Academy at the Gdynia, Wroclaw, Krakow, Toronto and Geneva festivals), Jan Komasa has turned to history. His base material for Warsaw Uprising were images shot in 1944 by two young brother reporters and a cameraman from the information and propaganda office of the Polish resistance. Their mission was to document the insurrection for cinema screenings. While they were searching for their best frames, the two brothers realised they had gotten to the heart of the war – in all its infernal and apocalyptic aspects.
In order to make 85 minutes' worth of film, and tell these historical events with a kind of unprecedented realism, Jan Komasa collaborated with a team of audiovisual restoration experts. The key to the operation was the colouring, which was guided by Piotr Sobocinski (director of photography for films including Rosa [+see also:
film profile] and Traffic Department [+see also:
interview: Wojtek Smarzowski
film profile]). The images were coloured one by one, without any styling and after undertaking a detailed historical analysis of objects and clothes from the time, conserved in museums and private collections. Worth noting also was the quality of the editing (Joanna Brühl) and the film’s music (Bartosz Chadecki).
Produced by Jan Oldakowski and Pior Sliwowski (also authors of the screenplay with Joanna Pawluskiewicz) for the Museum of Revolt in Warsaw and House Media Company, Warsaw Uprising benefitted from support from the Polish Film Institute.
(Translated from French)