TATARAK

Poland

Synopsis

A middle-aged woman, Marta, wife of a small town doctor, doesn’t know about her terminal illness. One day Marta meets a much younger man, Boguś, and is fascinated by his youth and simplicity. Their innocent “dates” at the shores of the river, marked by mutual fascination, are put to an end by a sudden and cruel twist of fate: it is Boguś who dies first, drowning, entangled in the roots of the sweet rush he was carrying for Marta. But this is just a first layer of this multidimensional tale: SWEET RUSH is also a film on making a film and Andrzej Wajda is intertwining the story with real-life monologues of Krystyna Janda dealing with the premature death of her husband, the acclaimed cinematographer Edward Kłosiński.

Director's Statement

After three cinematographic encounters with Iwaszkiewicz’s prose, (Birch Wood, The Maids of Wilko, June Night) I had often been thinking of another of his stories, Tatarak, but the idea for a feature length film had always been delayed by the brevity of the story. Of course, I could have combined it with another story. However, such a literary masterpiece contained within it a self-sufficient organism, which would be unlikely to absorb external bodies. Eventually, after years of wavering I came across another story which was to complement Tatarak and which provided me with the impetus to start production. Then, quite unexpectedly, I was informed by Krystyna Janda that she couldn’t participate because of her husband’s serious illness. It was Edward Kłosiński – my great friend and cinematographer on my films MAN OF MARBLE, THE PROMISED LAND, ORCHESTRA CONDUCTOR and MAN OF IRON. By the time we started shooting, a year later, he had died. In spite of this I continued with the original version of the script, the starting point for which was the story of Tatarak. When we were towards the end of shooting the final episode with doctor’s wife Marta, and a young man, Boguś, Krystyna handed me a couple of pages that she herself had written. To my surprise, what I read was her description of the final days of the life of Edward Kłosiński. “Is this for me personally or do you want everyone to know about it through the film?” When she admitted that she wanted to share her experience with others, I realized that every day she returned to her hotel and, in her solitude, mused on those thoughts. Instantly, my mind conjured up those images by Hopper of lonely women in their hotel rooms. And then I was greatly helped by Paweł Edelman, my director of photography on SWEET RUSH, who suggested that only by using a totally immobile camera could we achieve what we wanted from these scenes in our film. I was 27 when I started my first film and at that time I thought we were all living just for filmmaking and that real life was purely an extension to our work. Now I know that even an actor who is totally devoted to performing still preserves an inner self because no illusion can substitute for reality. That is why I so appreciated the confessions of Krystyna, the film’s Marta. My desire to film the story of Tatarak had always been motivated by my wish to work with Krystyna Janda once again. Years ago she had started her film career in my picture MAN OF MARBLE. Thanks to these two circumstances, one with the Iwaszkiewicz prose and the other with Krystyna Janda taking the role of Marta, I have again found my own self. Whether this is visible in the film is not for me to judge.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Andrzej Wajda

Written by: Andrzej Wajda

Produced by: Michał Kwieciński, Leszek Andrzej Wyszyński, Waldemar Dąbrowski

Cinematography: Pawel Edelman

Main Cast: Krystyna Janda (Mrs. Marta), Paweł Szajda (Bogus), Jan Englert (doctor), Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieślak (Marta's friend)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Critic’s Award – Prix Fipresci 2009
  • Feature Film Selection 2009