Andrzej Munk

T. it.: La passeggera. T. int.: Passenger. Sog.: Zofia Posmysz. Scen.: Zofia Posmysz, Andrzej Munk. F.: Krzysztof Winiewicz. M.: Zofia Dwornik. Scgf.: Tadeusz Wybult. Mus.: Tadeusz Baird. Int.: Aleksandra Śląska (Liza), Anna Ciepielewska (Marta), Janusz Bylczyński (kapò), Anna Gołębiowska (prigioniera), Barbara Horawianka (infermiera), Anna Jaraczówna (kapò), Maria Kosciałkowska (Inga Weniger), Andrzej Krasicki (membro della commissione). Prod.: Zespół Filmowy Kamera.
35mm. D.: 64′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Paseżerka is Andrzej Munk’s fourth and final feature, a work left critically unfinished at the moment of the director’s accidental death. At first his collaborators didn’t want to touch the material. Then they thought otherwise; their impressively intelligent touches to a deeply original film were as much a reconstruction of a story as an attempt to dive into the thought process of their deceased friend. The unfinished nature of the film, beautifully retained by Munk’s friends, might even elevate the intensity and subtlety of the treatment, given how many fiction films about concentration camps are either simplistic or coarse: the theme of concentration camps is well-known to border on impossibility for the cinema. Paseżerka had an impressive predecessor in Polish film, Wanda Jakubowska’s The Last Stage (1947), that carries the full weight of first-hand testimony. Somehow Munk conveyed the same feeling. It might be the finest fiction film about concentration camps, in the sense of an intricate interplay between the roles of hangman and victim, and overall, along with Resnais’ documentary Night and Fog (1955), one of the very best. Munk’s collaborators stated: “We didn’t want to clarify what he had not make clear himself. We didn’t look for conclusions when we were not sure if they were his conclusions. We didn’t try to close a framework that his death had left open. We only wanted to decipher this work as it is, along with the audience, with its lacunae and reticence, as sometimes one deciphers a manuscript where time or accident have destroyed fragments, and arrive, as we deciphered, at its essence, at what is clear and living. Andrzej Munk is our contemporary. His memory and his anxiety remain close to us. We did not dare guess the answers toward which he was heading, but perhaps we will succeed in repeating the questions he was asking himself”.

Peter von Bagh

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