Feature film by Wojciech Marczewski, 1990. "Escape..." is one of the key films of the political breakthrough of 1989.
Still from "Escape from the "Liberty" Cinema", photo: Polfilm / East News
An unusual event interrupts the screening of a new Polish film at "Wolność" / "Liberty" cinema: actors rebel, refusing to play false, stupefying roles, and start drawing the audience into side conversations. Representatives of an official commission, who are present among the audience, try to control the rebellion. People flock around the cinema and the authorities wonder how to tackle the situation. A censor - once a poet, literary critic and journalist - arrives and, driven by love for Małgorzata, the film heroine, crosses the screen and starts talking to her. The actress thanks him for a good review of many years ago and expresses her disapproval of his current job. Disappointed, the censor returns to reality, but now a different man, he resolves to give up the censor's position, realizing that it is the cause of his enslavement.
Meanwhile the decision-makers want to burn the copy of the film. Actors run away from the screen to the roof. Out of solidarity, the censor also moves to the other side of the screen so that he can die with the rebels. Once there, however, he is accosted by various film characters he has once cut out...
"A character he once removed from a film calls at him: 'How come, there was a crime, but there will be no punishment?!' 'Leave him alone, he remembers that', Małgorzata comes into the censor's defence. He, however, has understood and, silently, withdraws to where has was before. It is as if the entire fantastic, grotesque, Bulgakov and Woody Allen-like plot were rolling back in front of our eyes. We are back to reality. So solidarity with the rebels will not do to clean oneself of the guilt?
"The allusions to Bulgakov's 'The Master and Margarita' help the director to spin the film's main idea - that of forgiveness. ...The character played by Gajos has something in common with Pilatus, the man who is close to exhaustion, the cynic who vacillates and yearns for Jeshua whom he has condemned to death and who asks himself the dramatic question: what is truth? There is a small yet significant scene in 'Ucieczka': the censor, wanting to apologize to his daughter who feels contempt for him, bangs on the student dormitory door. It is night, nobody opens the door and only the Pope's face looks at the censor from the photograph in the hall, his expression suggesting that he would like to open the door for him. Suddenly a doorwoman appears, shouting: 'Why are you banging? This is not a brothel. This is a girls' dormitory'. In a film where everything is possible, where pictures come alive and speak in their own voice, the momentary exchange of glances between the censor and the Pope through the glass of the closed door acquires an unexpected meaning: here is the communist Poland's local governor facing his Joshua.
"The idea of mercy need not have anything in common with sentimental pity. One who forgives his opponent breaks away from him, setting himself free. Even the gravest sin calls for forgiveness, lest it poisons the lives of both the sinner and the one who considers himself innocent. The sentence 'where there is guilt, there is punishment' may be replaced - after Dostoyevsky and Bulgakov - with another one: 'where there is guilt, there is forgiveness'. … The importance and moral beauty of Marczewski's film lies in its top-down look at the reality of the communist Poland, a look from the perspective of true freedom which is contingent on forgiveness" (Tadeusz Sobolewski, "Kino" 1990).
Escape... is one of the key films of the political breakthrough of 1989.
- Ucieczka z kina "Wolność" / Escape from the "Liberty" Cinema. Poland 1990. Screenplay and directed by Wojciech Marczewski, director of photography: Jerzy Zieliński, music by: Zygmunt Konieczny, production design by Andrzej Kowalczyk, film editing by: Elżbieta Kurkowska. Featuring: Janusz Gajos (Censor), Zbigniew Zamachowski (Censor's Assistant), Teresa Marczewska (Małgorzata), Piotr Fronczewski (sekretarz partii), Władysław Kowalski (Professor), Michał Bajor (Critic), Jan Peszek (Raskolnikow), Ewa Wiśniewska (Cesor's ex-wife), Jerzy Bińczycki (Cinema Director), Artur Barciś (cinema operator). Produced by Zespół TOR. Color, 2452 m, 87 min.
- Grand Prix Gdańsk Golden Lions, leading male role award for Janusz Gajos, music award for Zygmunt Konieczny, Journalists Award at the Polish Feature Film Festival Gdynia '90
- "Złota Kaczka" ("Golden Duck") - 1990 "Film" readers' award
- Zbigniew Zamachowski - 1991 Felix nomination for male supporting role
- Grand Prix at 1992 Avoriaz Fantasy Film Festival
- Best Film Award; Male Role Award for Janusz Gajos at Burgos '94 Fantasy Film Festival