On the set of ‘Baczyński’

Towards the end of July I was invited to the last few days of shooting the forthcoming film ‘Baczyński’ – directed by Kordian Piwowarski.

‘Baczyński’ is a biographical film about the poet, resistance fighter and Warsaw Rising soldier Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński.

The film is multilayered; Both a cinematic portrayal – with the lead role of Baczyński played by the very talented Mateusz Kościukiewicz (Matka Teresa od kotów/ Mother Teresa of Cats) and also a documentary – with interviews from the last few witnesses who knew Baczyński personally and recordings of young slam poets in Warsaw giving a contemporary interpretation of Baczyński’s poetry and legacy today.

I was absolutely delighted to be a part of this production and as the film is currently in post-production I have been sent a couple of screen stills from “my” scene – We were filming just as the sun was setting and it most certainly felt like a magic moment – and so I thought I would share the photographs here.

This scene in the film is set before the outbreak of the Warsaw Rising: In 1943 Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński belonged to the famous Zośka Battalion – a scout battalion of the Polish resistance (part of the Home Army / Armia Krajowa) engaged in sabotage work against the occupying enemy. In April 1944 Baczyński took part in an armed mission derailing a German train – causing a delay of this German transport route to Berlin for 26 hours. (The train scene was filmed later that same evening.) 

In the film I very briefly portray the liaison girl ‘Stefa’ – Seen here walking arm in arm (and later dancing!) with the very handsome young actor Józef Grzymała:

Costume Design:

Together with Costume Designer Anna Banasiak (who’s credits include the feature film ‘Generał Nil’) we looked at several costume options for Liaison Girl ‘Stefa’ – before deciding on the pieces that I am seen wearing here. Whilst ‘fashion’, in a more traditional sense, ‘stopped’ during the war – Style did not! And we can now only look back in awe of the inventiveness and creativity used to create individual new looks from discarded clothes and old fabrics. In fact, it is fascinating to see just how very distinctive wartime style became – especially later, when civilian clothing was combined with elements of military uniforms during the Warsaw Rising in 1944.

In this scene I am dressed in a very stylish look for that time; a man’s double breasted suit jacket in dark blue – marking the waist with a leather belt. This jacket was matched with a below the knee length grey wool skirt and a pair of slightly mismatched prewar style women’s lace-up boots.

The costume was somewhat deliberately mismatched, with the fabrics slightly torn and worn and I was particularly keen on the lace-up boots: Whilst in period film it is tempting to dress and use props from the exact year one is attempting to recreate – in reality, people wear and use objects from preceding years too! Not only does this create more interesting variety but also, more importantly – accuracy; As for example during the war it was very difficult to get a new pair of shoes – unlike clothes they are not easy to alter or mend yourself – and so, this detail felt important in creating the overall ‘feel’ of the costume.

For anyone outside of Poland and perhaps less familiar with the life and poetry of  Baczyński  – I should perhaps also add a few brief notes; 

Poland’s history is filled with insurrections against occupying forces and K.K. Baczyński belongs to a long tradition of romantic Polish wartime poets.

Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński was born in 1921 – into what is known in Poland as ‘Generation 20’; young men and women born in the  1920’s  – around a time when Poland had recently regained her independence – but who were destined to come of age during the Nazi occupation and of whom many would later fight and die in the tragic outcome of the Rising in 1944. Baczyński felt a powerful premonition of the tragedy that was to come  – for himself, his generation and for Poland and his romantic and fatalistic poetry became legendary.

In July 1944 he transferred to the “Parasol” Battalion – and was killed, by a German sniper, on August 4th 1944 –  The fourth day of the Warsaw Rising.

The film ‘Baczyński’ is planned for release in 2013.

In the meantime, I invite you to have a look at the trailer here:

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