OPENING FILM 2022
THE OPENING GALA OF THE 20TH WARSAW JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE POLIN MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF POLISH JEWS, ON NOVEMBER 14TH AT 8:00 PM.
IT WILL FEATURE THE WARSAW PREMIERE OF THE FILM "EDGE OF LIGHT" DIRECTED BY WOJCIECH SZUMOWSKI, POLAND 2021, 73 MIN.
The film tells the story of a sportsman Dariusz Popiela, who's restoring the memory of Jews in Poland by visiting their former neighbors and saving Jewish cemetery in the village Czarny Dunajec.
"You need to put the light on the stone from the right angle to read the names on matzevot. This way you bring the stories of those who are no longer with us back to life".
The film directed by Wojciech Szumowski is a human story – a story of a charismatic man who electrifies the people around him and invites them to read the forgotten, local history together.
THE FILM IS THE STORY of Dariusz Popiela and the Polish Podhale community regaining memory.
A group of young people gathered around Dariusz Popiela, an athlete, Olympian from Beijing, two-time European champion and multiple medalist of the world championship in mountain kayaking, and a man who does not agree that the Nazi intention to remove Jews from world history will be fulfilled, conducts works in old, forgotten Jewish cemeteries.
TO REMEMBER SOMETHING, you need to bring it back first. To find traces, decode information, verify it, pull it out of the memory of the witnesses who are still alive. The natural course of events connected with the reconstruction of a cemetery defines the development of the film’s dramaturgy. A lot of new, surprising moments. The characters pick up the knocked-over matzevot (Jewish tombstones), dig them out of turf, mark the mass graves at forgotten cemeteries.
THE RESPECTFUL MEMORY of people who used to live here is brought back. With full names. Light at the right angle allows reading the blurred letters. The effort invested in gathering the tales of the local inhabitants restores the memory of Jewish neighbors who died during the Holocaust. Unique meetings of characters whose families, as it turns out, also have unique histories. The film’s protagonist has an amazing gift, a kind of positive energy, which can convince even the cautious ones.
THE INHABITANTS of Czarny Dunajec observe the changes in the cemetery and accept them. They also often take part in the work. They are relieved to let the matzevot that happened to be found on their property be taken back to the cemetery.
THE FILM IS A STORY ABOUT READING – from matzevot, documents, the memory of neighbors – the history of Poland before and during the WW2. Young people from Krościenko, Grybów, Czarny Dunajec and many other places in Poland successively shed the light of memory on the names of individual people.
AFTER THE SCREENING MEETING WITH DARIUSZ POPIELA, FILM DIRECTOR AND PRODUCERS!
Director Biography - Wojciech Szumowski
WOJCIECH SZUMOWSKI was born in 1961 in Northen Poland. A graduate of the Łódź Film School’s direction studies. Director, documentary filmmaker and producer who has been active in the film and TV industry for 30 years. The son of Maciej Szumowski, a journalist, brother of Małgorzata Szumowska, a director. Currently, the head of STUDIO SZUMOWSKI, an independent artist and director. Earlier, a producer and director for DISCOVERY HISTORIA TVN and TVN station. In 2000 - 2001, the head of the documentary section in TVP2 where he developed the concept and introduced the series of documentary films POLSKA BEZ FIKCJI / POLAND NON-FICTION. The Winner of many awards at Polish and international festivals and industry events.
Young faces looking down on a matzeva. Flat, damaged, stone surface. Quartzite, marble, sandstone? There is a faint outline of letters on it. They are illegible. To read them, you need to light them properly, with oblique light, which highlights the blurred information. The unique scene of recovering the old matzeva which lies near the barn in Czarny Dunajec shows the main idea of the film. And this is not yet another film about the Holocaust. It is a film about a phenomenon, which has been occurring in different places in Poland for many years. This is a film about restoring the memory of the Jewish neighbours, who have disappeared from their homes next door together as World War II and the Holocaust came. In just a few years, the film’s protagonist, Dariusz Popiela, and his friends renovated the cemeteries in Krościenko and Grybów. “Tell the people in the anonymous grave that they do not deserve a decent commemoration.” Dariusz often repeats these words like a mantra.
The film is not meant to be a story of extermination, grief, grudges or unsettled history. This is a tale of the people from the neighborhood, about the need to read the history for ourselves, for the next generations.