The Cabaret of Death Wins Prix Italia in Torino
small, The Cabaret of Death Wins Prix Italia in Torino, A still from The Cabaret of Death by Andrzej Celiński. Photo: press release, full_01-cabaret-of-death-the-kabaret-smierci-rez.-andrzej-celinski-press-pack_770.jpg
A documentary directed by Andrzej Celiński has won Best Artistic Film at the 67th Prix Italia, said to be the oldest and most prestigious international festival devoted to TV.
The Cabaret of Death is a story about Jewish artists, who during World War II tried to save their dignity and what freedom they had left using art. Musicians, actors and cabaret performers were normally kept behind ghetto walls or sent to camps, and many tried to defend themselves from Hitler's apparatus of repression using a formula of jokes, cabaret songs and concerts. In his film, Andrzej Celiński tells story of several artists who lived through this. TVP Kultura describes the film as follows:
A street jester named Rubinstein, a legendary character from the Warsaw ghetto, is used as a symbolic guide through this world of paradoxes, unbelievable events and dramatic clashes between cabaret performers, stars of the Vienna and Warsaw stages, actors, musicians and well-known pre-war filmmakers. The camera goes to the ghetto in Warsaw, concentration camps in Kurowice, Jaktorów, Buchenwald, Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Ravensbruck... For commentators, Celiński films contemporary artists and writers who in their own works examined the question of art on the other side of barbed wire, as well as participants and witnesses of these events who are still alive.
In his documentary, Andrzej Celiński skillfully joins the memories of those portrayed with fictionalised sequences illustrating their experiences during the war. Amongst those whose memories are included are: Volker Kühn, a theatre director; Jan Szurmiej, a director and actor; Roy Kift, a playwright; and Leopold Kozłowski, a musician. By combining acted scenes and documentary interviews with witnesses, Celiński creates a dramatically and technically effective film that is real and touching at the same time.
The prize won by The Cabaret of Death in Torino is the second award for Celiński's film. It also received the Golden Medal for this year’s Best Documentary at the 58th New York Festivals World’s Best TV & Film Awards.
However, two more Polish films co-produced by Telewizja Polska (TVP) were nominated for the Prix Italia - a play called Karski by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz for Best Fiction and The Promise of a Happy Childhood directed by Piotr Kaczyński and Ryszard Morawski for Best Documentary Film.
the cabaret of death
Sources: TVP Kultura, Culture.pl, edited by BS, translated by ND, Sept 2015