In 2014, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Deluge premiere – Jerzy Hoffman’s film adaptation of the novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The opening night took place at the first Polish Film Festival (now: Gdynia Film Festival).
In 1974, The Deluge, as the first film in the history of this festival, won the Grand Award “Lwy Gdańskie” (now the Golden Lion). Daniel Olbrychski was awarded as the best actor in a leading role for his unforgettable performance as Andrzej Kmicic. The film also won the Audience Award. The Deluge got very enthusiastic reviews and was given credit by a multi-million audience. As one of few Polish films, it was nominated to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Deluge is not only the biggest production in the history of Polish cinematography, a film produced on a grand scale and in cooperation with distinguished artists, but it is also a picture on which generations of Poles have been weaned. For the last forty years, it has been ceaselessly enrapturing the viewers and eliciting very emotional responses. With its record-breaking ratings its popularity has not declined. The story of love between Kmicic and Oleńka, protagonist’s dramatic fate, impressive battle scenes, perfect set design and costumes, unforgettable performances and masterful camerawork make The Deluge remain “the everlasting bestseller” – just as its literary prototype, the most widely read book series in the history of Polish literature, Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Trilogy.
Hence, there is a plethora of reasons to show Jerzy Hoffman’s restored film after so many years at the most important film festival in Poland.
Deluge Redivivus is a project of the National Film Archive that came into being due to the need of showing The Deluge to the contemporary audience on big and small screen in a new, appealing form and perfect quality. The film was meticulously restored and re-edited under the artistic supervision of Jerzy Hoffman and professor Jerzy Wójcik. In 2010, within the framework of the project organized by the National Film Archive’s Digital Repository, thanks to the financial support of the Polish Film Institute and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and in conjunction with TVN S.A., both parts of The Deluge were digitalized (part 1 – 169 min and part 2 – 146 min).
The film was entirely restored. All the preserved output materials were documented, materials for digitalization were selected and the film was digitalized in the highest 4K resolution from the original camera negative and the picture master positive, from which multi-frame fragments of shots were taken if they were missing in the negative material. In the next phase, the initial colour correction was made. Source magnetic sound recordings – separated music and sound effects as well as recorded original score – were digitalized and digitally restored. The output materials prepared in such a way were used to make an analog and a digital perpetual copy. For the first time in the history of Poland, the work on colour separations on a super durable polyester film tape is underway. It enables preserving the film for several hundred years.
The full digital remastering, on which Magyar Filmlabor and Orka Production Studio worked, encompassed deleting the damages caused by utilization and ageing of the materials. Creating a digital copy of the film ceased the utilization of sensitive analog materials. The Deluge was restored with the most recent technology of film post-production and according to the rules of restoring the archive films. The final colour correction was made under the supervision of professor Jerzy Wójcik.
The restored original version of The Deluge (315 min) became a starting point for another artistic project. Under the supervision of the director, a new version of the film with a more dynamic narration (185 min) was made. A reputable film editor, Marcin Kot Bastkowski, was invited to work on the project. He had worked with Jerzy Hoffman on With Fire and Sword (1999; the award for best editing at the 24th Polish Film Festival) and on Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011).
Honorary patronage of the president of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski
Producer: Main contractor of the project:
Project co-financed by:
Main technological partner of the project: