Wojciech Smarzowski • Director
by Jessica Blank
11/06/2012 - In his third feature film, Rose [trailer], director Wojciech Smarzowski focuses his gaze on a little-known part of history, that of the people of Masuria, a territory situated between Germany and Poland. During the Second World War, the status of Masurians was further complicated - the Soviets considered them as German, while the Germans saw them as the Polish enemy. Abused, tortured and drawn out of their land of origin, the Masurians lived through hell. Cineuropa met Smarzowski at the Brussels Film Festival.
Cineuropa : In your film Rose [trailer] you chose to speak about a subject that has rarely been dealt with in cinema - can you explain your intentions and where the idea came from?
Wojciech Smarzowski: With this film I had two ideas. The first being that I wanted to, above all, present a love story. Second, I wanted to take advantage of the historical background of the film, that is the story of the Masurien people; a people that lived on Polish territory that was destroyed during the Second World War.
Your film is very successful and celebrated in Poland, despite the fact that it deals with a difficult past - why do you think this is the case?
There is only one explanation for the success of the film in Poland, and that is the way it is acted. The actors present the story in an extremely real, extremely authentic manner. This makes the story easier for the audience.
Rose is a film about the effects of war, but it mainly focuses on the condition of women in this period. Do you think this subject is undervalued in cinema today?
It is a difficult question, I don't know if 'women' in general is a well-exploited topic in war cinema. My intention was always to show a woman as a sort of trophy of war. There already exists a film which deals with this subject called A Woman in Berlin, I wanted to deal with a similar topic.
Rose is a Polish film, about a Masurian woman, in a country invaded by the Soviet Union - you chose to keep all three languages in the film (Polish, German, Russian) in the film - why?
I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. It truly corresponds to the story that took place on this territory, so for me there was no choice about that. BR>
The cinematography of the film is interesting, the deeper we go into the incessant torture of the characters the darker and gloomier the images, but at times there is a brighter and happier perspective, what is the message?
First of all you must understand why I make films. I make a film because there is something that hurts me, we could call this a type of personal pain. And that is why I try to reflect in the most correct manner the tragic moments, and the moments of joy, because theseare intertwined in real life.
You make no concessions - the film is often very graphic. Do you think this could take away from its accessibility to the general public?
Personally I have no opinion on this. For me its simple, if someone starts to watch the film and finds it sufficiently interesting to stay, they must be prepared to delve deeper into the story.