A MOVING recent film experience was the preview at the beginning of this month of a Polish film made in England. The film was "This is a Man" and it was made in the hope of its being shown on British television. The preview was given by — not at — POSK, the Polish Social and Cultural Centre at Hammersmith, founded by, and for, the Polish
exiles in this country.
The man of the film's title is our Polish Pope, John-Paul II. The film is designed to show the background into which the Holy Father was born 59 years ago in Cracow and the culture in which he was brought up — Poland between the wars, then under German attack and occupation, as a young actor with the Cracow group called Rhapsodic Theatre, until he attended Cardinal Prince Sapieha's underground seminary and was in due course ordained, installed bishop, made a cardinal and eventually elected Pope, with his country living through the confrontation between its Catholic Church and its imposed Communist government, until the election of a Polish Pope brought a new atmosphere.
The title may mislead. For although the film builds up a fascinating introduction, there seems hardly enough of the Pope to live up to it. However, most people saw the splendid television coverage of the Pope's return to Poland which is the natural climax to the film, so will be able to provide a climax for themselves.
Written by Boleslaw Sulik, a Polish writer and critic who lives here, the film was produced by Howard Ross.
One of the film's most impressive features is the speaking by an evidently outstanding young actor, Merck Kondrat, from Warsaw's "Dramatic Theatre" of eloquent passages from Poland's dramatic poets Mickiewicz, Slowacki and Norwid — passages known to have been performed by Karol Wojtyla as a young actor.
I sincerely hope this fascinating and very original film will get the showing it deserves on one of our television channels.
Freda Bruce Lockhart