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Adam Guziński • Director

“It was a return to my childhood”


- Memories of Summer, the second feature by Polish director Adam Guziński, is world-premiering in the International Competition of the 32nd Warsaw Film Festival

Adam Guziński  • Director
(© Rafal Nowak / WFF)

World-premiering in the International Competition of the 32nd Warsaw Film Festival, Memories of Summer [+see also:
interview: Adam Guziński
film profile
is the second feature by Polish director Adam Guziński, whose debut, The Boy on the Galloping Horse [+see also:
film review
film profile
,was screened at Cannes in 2006. A sensitive portrayal of the emotional intricacies of the intimate life of a family and the bond between a child and a parent, the film is an astute observation of the specific vulnerabilities of growing up, telling a story of the affairs of adults as seen exclusively through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. Set in Poland of the 1970s, the narrative’s melancholic nostalgia for childhood is complemented by warm, bright colours and impressive camera work. Cineuropa spoke to Guziński about how making a film from the perspective of a child influenced his creative decisions.

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Cineuropa: Why did you decide to tell the story from the point of view of a child
Adam Guziński: The story is about a 12-year-old boy growing up, and it is presented from the boy’s perspective. I’m interested in the world as seen by a child, and the crucial moments of adolescence. Children can feel and see things more clearly, and more intensely, but at the same time, the world of adults can be confusing to them. I tried to fully realise this character, to commit to his point of view – and this was what determined the narration entirely.

Why did you decide to set the story in Poland of the 1970s?
Poland in the 1970s was quite different from the Poland of today. Nowadays, we can keep in touch using mobile phones, Skype or the internet, any time we like. In those days, when someone went far away for a long time, it was only possible to talk to them for a short time on phone – and this made for an entirely different experience than the one we have today. A person’s absence was felt more keenly. To put it in another way, the traces of someone’s nearest and dearest started to fade when they were away. It reinforced the feelings of emptiness and isolation. That was the main theme behind the film’s narrative. It is a story that could only happen in that world, in those days.

The second reason was more personal. It was a return to my childhood and to the colours, the scents and the sounds that I know intimately. It is a world I used to know completely, so I also know how to function within it. It was a great pleasure for me to come back to it all.

Could you talk a bit about the colours you used in the film?
The colour hark back to that period of the 1970s. We mostly used pastel colours, without strong contrast, softly watered, and submerged in the sun. You can feel the strong presence of sunshine and the summer atmosphere, which can be a little bit stifling, but suffused with warmth. Together with my DoP, Adam Sikora, we tried to refer back to our impressions of those days. We wanted to express them in the film.

Was it difficult to prepare the young actors for such complex roles – how did you work with them?
Working with young actors is not so difficult for me. The casting, the scouting for actors is the most important stage of the process. The most important thing is to find the right person, a child with an expressive personality. He or she should resemble the character from the screenplay and at the same time, he or she should behave in a natural way in front of the camera. The rest is simple. It is about the right directing and the attention.

Is your film intended for a general (adult) audience or is it also aimed at younger viewers?
I think that taking into account the dramatic nature of the story I would recommend the film to adults, however, children over the of 13 are, in my opinion, able to understand the film and be touched by it emotionally.

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