Cult film ‘Interrogation’ which was banned during communism to get new lease of life with glossy rerelease
A film that was banned under communism is set to get a new lease of life after being restored and rereleased on Blu-Ray.
Director Ryszard Bugajski’s 1982 film ‘Interrogation’ about life during Stalinism gained a cult following after going underground with copies made on old VHS tape.
Now British production company “Second Run” which ‘specialises in releasing lost gems of world cinema’ has announced it intends to release the film with new and improved English subtitles and 2K restoration by Poland’s WFDiF.
It will also include an in-depth interview with the director in which he “discusses the film’s contextual history, its production, the controversy surrounding its release and its eventual withdrawal and banning by Polish authorities.”
Starring Krystyna Janda, Adam Ferency, Janusz Gajos, Agnieszka Holland, and Anna Romantowska, the film is based on true events and depicts the Stalinist terror of the early 1950s.
Janda who played the lead role of Tonia later said: “The story was really based on the lives of two real women who lived through the Stalinist hell: Tonia Lechmann and Wanda Podgórska, the secretary to Władyslaw Gomulka.
“Mrs. Podgórska, who spent six years in prison, including two in an isolation cell, served as my consultant on the film. (...)
“We had to make sure that we documented the film very well because we had to defend everything we did in front of a review board.”
During a 2013 talk to film students, Bugajski said: “In making this film, I wanted to look at the victims [of communism], the ordinary people, the people who were innocent and maybe not even interested in politics.
“My heroine goes from a completely passive, politically unaware person to someone who starts to defend her own self and define her own moral code for the first time.
“I knew [the ban] would happen even while I was shooting it, so I surreptitiously made a copy of the film, a 35-mm print, and hid it.
“Later I made more copies, dubbed it all into VHS, and it was distributed by an underground samizdat publisher.
“It became enormously successful.”
Following the collapse of communism in 1989, the film premiered in Warsaw and then appeared at the Cannes Film Festival the following year where it was nominated for the Golden Palm and Janda won the award for best actress.
Described by Second Run as an “outstanding depiction of a woman who finds strength and heroism in the face of torture and internment, takes you to places few films are willing to explore” the newly-packaged film will be released on September 18.