For You, Poland

For You, Poland
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Release Date: 1920-06-25
Screenwriter: Marian Józefowicz
Director of Photography: Stanisław Sebel
About the film

The love story of two young people – Franek and Hanka. Their love is put to the test due to the outbreak of the Polish-Bolshevik war. While defending their country, they remain loyal to their feelings. Fortunately their commitment is rewarded.

Time: spring 1919
Place: Vilnius and its surroundings
Rights: an orphan work (in the disposition of the National Film Archive)
Sound: none
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Language: pl
Antoni Różański (Heir Marcin Oksza), Henryk Rydzewski (Franek), Stanisław Jasieński (Peasant, Wojciech Siekiera), Jadwiga Doliwa (Granddaughter of Siekiera), Jan Karpowicz (Oksza’s servant), Ryszard Sobiszewski (Bolshevik Sasza), Jan Czapski (Sergeant major Dzięcioła), Stanisław Sybicz (Antek), Karol Karliński (Commander of the Polish division), Paweł Owerłło (Fisch)
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The film is set in the spring of 1919. After the withdrawal of the German Army from Vilnius, the Polish-Bolshevik war breaks out. Waging with varying degrees of success, it brutally invades the life of a loving coupe – Franek and Hanka. The Bolshevik hordes cause destruction in Polish villages and manors. In the manor house of the heir of Oksza, an insurgent of 1863, the invaders arrange a drinking bout. The Polish cavalry, however, comes to the rescue just in time. Unable to wait passively, Hanka becomes a sister of mercy in one of the field hospitals near Vilnius, while Franek gains wide recognition after capturing a Russian spy. The important documents found on the spy contributed to the capture of Vilnius. The bloody battles end with the Polish troops entering the city. Hanka and Franek – both in Polish army uniforms – happily find each other at the foot of the painting of Our Lady of Ostra Brama. The film ends with a documentary recording of the ceremony of incorporating Vilnius into the Polish borders, with the participation of Józef Piłsudski, the highest commanders of the Polish army and some foreign guests.

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The film is a part of the album from the series “The Great Silent Period in Polish Cinema” issued in 2011 along with the film “Miracle at the Vistula.” The subject of both titles is connected to the Polish-Soviet war and the Warsaw Battle of 1920 and they have remained in large fragments in the collection of the Polish National Film Archive. Originally the film “For You, Poland” from 1920 by Antoni Bednarczyk was made up of seven acts. The nitro copy used in the process of digitization has 872 metres, so it is less than half of the original material. “For You, Poland” supplements the subject matter of the film “The Miracle at the Vistula.” The events it describes are a kind of prologue to the story shown in Ryszard Bolesławski’s film a year later. From the original eight acts of this two-series image only 888 metres of the tape have been preserved. In order to facilitate the understanding of the action of both films we have decided to introduce additional boards containing a description of scenes which are not fully clear. All of them are a kind of supposition and do not claim to mirror the original texts from the lost fragments of the film. Their number is limited to an absolute minimum in order to preserve the integrity of the saved film material.


Scientific comment: prof. dr hab. Małgorzata Hendrykowska

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press review

They are 80 years old and incomplete and on top of that black and white, but they will rouse many viewers. They will bring together a film fan, a theatre fan, a history enthusiast and a fan of experimental music. (…) Both titles refer to the Polish-Soviet war, but "For You, Poland" takes place in 1919 and "Miracle…" is about the Battle of Warsaw. Although they were filmed many years ago in a then predominant melodramatic manner, the pictures do not seem outdated. They include many dynamic shots, e.g. during the battle scenes. The creators decided to show – realistic, even brutal – depictions of Bolshevik attacks on the civil population. They also used documentary materials. In "For You, Poland" – records of the ceremony of Vilnius’ incorporation into Poland. (...)

„Uważam Rze", 18.04.2011

In "For You, Poland"  there was no ‘brilliant’ cast. The main characters were played by Jadwiga Doliwa, amateur, and Henryk Rydzewski, an actor almost forgotten today. The supporting roles featured Antoni Różański, Stanisław Jasieński and Ryszard Sobiszewski – a well-known dancer of his time, who ran a dance school in Warsaw with his brother. The movie is interesting in many ways, because it constitutes a recording of dramatic events. It was made almost parallel to the facts of history. Its drawbacks are simplifications and misrepresentations (…), however, it provides evidence of the emotional state and the way of perceiving Polish-Bolshevik conflict at a time when it was entering a decisive phase. From this point of view it is almost a documentary recording.

Kino", 4/2011

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did you know?
  • In order to raise awareness of the ‘horror of Bolshevism’ and the idea of ‘the fight against this barbaric onslaught’ among the youth, special reduced price screenings were organized.

  • The screenplay for „For You, Poland" was written by a professional military man – lieutenant Marian Józefowicz.                  

  • The film was created by Anthony Bednarczyk - one of the first Polish film directors and also a theatre, film and radio actor, an educator, a theatre historian and a collector of theatrical props. It was on his initiative that The House of Veteran Actors of Polish Scenes in Skolimów near Warsaw came into existence.                    

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posters and stills
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