Maria Dębska stars as ‘rebel’ sex symbol Kalina Jędrusik in powerful new biopic
A new film focusing on the life of singer and actress Kalina Jędrusik is set to hit the big screen.
One of the heartthrobs of the Polish stage and silver screen in the 1960s and 1970s, she was often referred to simply as “Kalina”.
She was born in 1931 in Gnaszyn, which is now part of Częstochowa, in southern Poland.
After studying at the theatre academy in Kraków, she made her stage debut in 1953 in Gdańsk.
Over the next few decades, she performed at several theatres in Warsaw, including the National Theatre and the Polish Theatre.
She also became known for her many cinema roles, including in two classic films directed by Andrzej Wajda: “Innocent Sorcerers” (1960), in which she plays as journalist, and “The Promised Land” (1975), where she plays a female lead, the wife of a textile magnate.
Later, she also acted in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film “The Double Life of Veronique”, which was released in 1991.
She died that year from an asthma attack, at the age of just 60.
Now her colourful social and private life will be the subject of its own feature film, which has the working title “Bo we mnie jest seks”, which literally means “Because There Is Sex in Me” (though that might not end up being the title in English).
This is also the title of a song sung by Kalina, which reflects her status as a sex symbol in communist-era Poland.
A Polish production, the film is being directed by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, who already has several films under her belt.
She said: "Talking about Kalina, I wanted to talk about the struggle of a woman and the expectations posed by society.
“This is a universal topic and always up to date. Each of us has to face what is considered appropriate for sex, age, etc.
“Kalina rebelled against orders, but it was not a rebellion against the power of the Polish People's Republic, it was a rebellion against power as such, against imposing standards on us, bigotry and hypocrisy, in the face of expectations that we will be the way somebody wants to see us and that we will obediently take on the role people expect.
“Kalina was in the spotlight, adored and hated, she experienced these dilemmas in extreme form.
“She was a wonderful heroine, a beautiful woman, an unforgettable Autumn Girl, distant and yet close."
Kalina will be played by 28-year-old Maria Dębska, who recently appeared in “Piłsudski” (2019), as the Polish interwar leader’s second wife Aleksandra Szczerbińska.
In addition to Kalina herself, the film portrays various personalities from 1960s Poland, from her husband, the writer Stanisław Dygat, to Władysław Gomułka, Poland’s communist leader at the time.
Co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, the biopic was shot in well-known locations in Warsaw, including Constitution Square, the swimming pool inside the Palace of Culture and Science, and some of the city’s theatres.
It will be released in 2021, the year that – had she lived longer – Kalina would have turned 90.