New Pilecki film is most expensive Polish production for 12 years
After nearly 10 years in the making, movie-goers are bracing themselves for the much-anticipated release on Friday of Raport Pileckiego (The Pilecki Report), which recounts the heroic and tragic story of Witold Pilecki.
Deliberately allowing himself to be arrested in order to be sent to Auschwitz, during his 947 days imprisonment he organised an underground resistance movement, and after his daring escape, compiled a report about what the Germans were doing there, including the extermination of Europe’s Jews.
After escaping, Pilecki fought in the Warsaw Uprising and in Italy in General Anders' army. After returning to Poland, he was arrested by the communist authorities and following bestial interrogations, he was sentenced to death.
Never renouncing his ideals and his love of Poland, he was executed on May 25, 1948 in Warsaw.
Playing the role of Pilecki, actor Przemysław Wyszyński told TFN: “It's a wonderful film about mankind, about people who did remarkable things in the name of their ideals and the truth they knew.”
The film's conception was a tumultuous journey, marked by shifts in direction, revisions in the script, and the untimely demise of producer Włodzimierz Niderhaus. The challenges were compounded by Covid-19 lockdowns, which all cast a shadow over the film's birth.
The result could be seen at a pre-premiere screening for journalists in Warsaw on Monday.
The film’s centre of gravity orbits around the brutal series of interrogations that Pilecki underwent at the hands of the communist security machinery.
His earlier life and exploits materialise in flashback, including poignant moments shared with his wife Maria played by Paulina Chapko.
In the film, he is shown outwitting his communist interrogators, but his fate is already sealed as a subplot unfolds in which future communist Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz, also a prisoner at Auschwitz, wishes to silence Pilecki and take the credit for organising the resistance movement in the camp.
Costing 39 million PLN, the film is the most expensive production in Poland in the last 12 years. Only Quo Vadis (2001 - PLN 76,140,000), Karol. A Man Who Became Pope (2006- PLN 48,000,000) and The Battle of Vienna (2012 - PLN 44,144,247) cost more.