First he convenes a meeting to elect a cruise council, then involves passengers in on-board competitions, games and fun – much to their excitement and delight with such showing-off opportunities. The 'instructor' wins a team of devoted allies and gets increasingly carried away by his leadership. As the subsequent events, including captain's day, masquerade, intelligence quiz, collective physical exercises and 'guess who slapped your backside' game become increasingly silly and meaningless, the enthusiasm of the cruise 'management' is rising.
The director, Marek Piwowski, described the film in an interview for Film magazine:
I used the method of provoking a certain mental exhibitionism in 'Rejs' - hence the need for improvising while shooting, the need for natural situations and behaviours and for dialogues springing up live in front of the camera. A traditional screenplay was impracticable and the traditional dramatic structure involving storytelling or plot development had to give way to such new structures which refer to the spectator's free associations, intelligence and sensitivity.
As Jan Józef Szczepański noted in Tygodnik Powszechny in 1970:
'Rejs' defies all categories present in the Polish cinema. It is an on-screen cabaret - an improvised one and amazingly realistic to boot... Piwowski's gift of observation, his sense of humour and something else - an awareness of national pathology which is so acute that it borders on cruelty - allowed him to use such stuff to create a full-length show in all respects.
Jan Słodowiski wrote in Dictionary of Polish Feature Films:
Using a para-documentary method of camera shooting improvised scenes, 'Rejs' is one of the most original Polish satirical comedies. Its grotesque key, surrealist dialogues utilizing the newspeak of the Polish People's Republic and situations borrowed from the realities of the time lend it a metaphorical sense.
And Małgorzata Hendrykowska commented on the comedy in A Chronicle of Polish Film-Making 1895-1997:
Even the most favourably predisposed film critics could not foresee that the events taking place on a Vistula river cruise as shown in 'Rejs' would be as attractive twenty plus years on as they were on the first night, and that the film would become a cult object for the next generation.
- Rejs / The Cruise. Directed by Marek Piwowski. screenplay by Janusz Głowacki, Marek Piwowski, Andrzej Barszczyński, Jerzy Karaszkiewicz. Director of photography: Marek Nowicki. Music by Wojciech Kilar. Production design by Wiesław Śniadecki. Sound by Aleksander Gołębiowski. Film editor: Lidia Pacewicz. Featuring: Stanisław Tym (KO Instructor), Jolanta Lothe (Young Girl), Wanda Stanisławska-Lothe (Mamoniowa), Zdzisław Maklakiewicz (Engineer Mamoń), Jan Himilsbach (Sidorowski), Jerzy Dobrowolski (Instructor's Friend), Andrzej Dobosz (Philosopher), Jerzy Karaszkiewicz (Angler), Ryszard Pietruski (Captain), Wojciech Pokora (Passenger), Janusz Kłosiński (Singer Józiu), Leszek Kowalewski (Poet), Feridun Erol, Roman Suszko, Wacław Antczak, Irena Iżykowska. Production by: Zespół Filmowy TOR, WFF Łódź 1970. Black and White, 1855 m, 65 min.
- Samowar DKF (Film Debating Club) Award '72
- 1st place in Polityka's end-of-century questionnaire "Most Interesting Polish Film of the 20th Century".