Angelus - Lech J. Majewski

A still from Angelus dir. Lech Majewski


The fictive story of the film was inspired by a true story: the story of startling, internationally unique phenomenon, the occult commune of Janów, active in 1920-60 in Silesia.

It became known to the society thanks to the paintings of the commune's members, which in several cases (Teofil Ociepka, Erwin Sowka) achieved international success. The time and place of the film's action are concrete and clearly defined: Katowice, Janow and Nikiszowiec, early 1950s. The message of the film consists of a defence of poetic, metaphysical sensibility and imagination, of the attitude of searching for the Mystery and the Sense, a defence of the human being against materialism and totalitarianism.

In 1920 the district of Janów, like almost all of Silesia, was a particular cultural enclave. The habitants were separated both from Polish roots and the German elite and they formed a separate, closed cultural group, where the old traditions, beliefs, customs and rites were cultivated. Magic was omnipresent as well as the belief in the real existence of various "creatures" and alchemy practices were applied. The interest for parapsychology and hermetic sciences caused Janow to become an important occult centre. The status of the master of secret sciences belonged to Teofil Ociepka, miner and painter. A strong occult commune formed around him. Ociepka and his disciples, simple uneducated miners, searched for the "philosophic stone" and pursued spiritual perfection, which would permit them to penetrate the Principle and the Sense of the World and of God, to reach the mystery of Existence. Their activities included elements of occultism, alchemy and theosophy with archaic and magical Silesian beliefs. The circle of Janow was in the times of Stalin a startling, metaphysical oasis, a charming adventure. This phenomenon was consciously and consequently falsified by the authorities of the People's Republic of Poland. This story, its paradoxes and contrasts were the inspiration for Lech J. Majewski's concentrated and "painted" film.


  • Angelus, Poland, 2001. Directed by: Lech J. Majewski, written by: Lech J. Majewski, Bronisław Maj and Ireneusz Siwiński, director of photography: Adam Sikora, music: Jozef Skrzek and Lech J. Majewski, set design: Lech J. Majewski and Katarzyna Sobańska-Strzałkowska, costumes: Małgorzata Zacharska, Editing: Eliot Ems, production: Henryk Romanowski. Cast: Jan Siodlaczek, Jacenty Jedrusik, Grzegorz Stasiak, Andrzej Mastalerz, Andrzej Skupinski, Marian Makula, Tadeusz Pławecki, Malgorzata Madejowska, Elżbieta Okupska, and others. Cinema premiere: in Silesia, October 12, 2001; national premiere, November 2, 2001.
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