Walser: a vision of the future
by Dorota Hartwich
- Polish artists are becoming more and more interested in film, as is clear to see in Wroclaw, especially with the film of artist Zbigniew Libera
The 15th edition of the T-mobile New Horizons International Film Festival confirms an interesting phenomenon in Polish production: the circle of artists that are renowned for their contemporary art are becoming increasingly interested in exploring film and fiction.
Alongside Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal (Parasite [+see also:
film profile]), Piotr Uklański (Summer Love [+see also:
film profile]) and Oskar Dawicki (who stars in Performer [+see also:
film profile] by Łukasz Ronduda and Macieja Sobieszczański), Zbigniew Libera, one of Poland’s most famous artists (he’s the creator of the famous Lego Systems), makes his first foray into fictional feature film with Walser.
Whilst Performer is in the running for Best Art Film in this year’s edition of the Festival, Walser [+see also:
film profile] has been selected for the official competition. Libera’s film is a snapshot of an imaginary paradise: the director paints the portrait of an ideal tribe, described as "a sort of achievement of the dream of hippies to return to nature, a Slavic version of Avatar". The members of the tribe, who are handsome, young and immortal, live in their idyllic world until they are paid a visit by an outsider, a representative of civilisation: Walser.
Zbigniew Libera chose to work on this project under the guidance of the Wajda Master School. The screenplay for Walser (which was written by the artist with literary critic and translator Grzegorz Jankowicz) was therefore looked at by the founder of the school, the great filmmaker Andrzej Wajda, who notably pointed out that the images would need to be of very high quality. Following his advice, Libera decided to entrust the camera to director of photography, photographer and painter Adam Sikora (Four Nights with Anna [+see also:
film profile], Essential Killing [+see also:
interview: Jerzy Skolimowski
film profile], The Mill and the Cross [+see also:
interview: Lech Majewski
film profile]). Libera also places huge value on the contribution of Krzysztof Stroiński, who plays Walser in the film.
Walser was produced by Balapolis in co-production with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Polish National Centre for Culture, the Film District and Studio Produkcyjne ORKA, and received funding from the Polish Film Institute.
(Translated from French)