galeria filmu Forefathers

Forefathers 1989


Film adaptation of a poetic drama "Dziady" by Adam Mickiewicz. Apart from literary references such us ideas of romanticism and the struggle for national independence against the Russian partitioner, the director blended also the twentieth-century history of Poland: the times of the Second World War and the post-war period (a panorama of Warsaw with the Palace of Culture and Science, the crowds cheering during the visit of Pope John Paul II).


Somewhere near Vilnius. On the eve of the All Saints\' Day and the ancient, nocturnal Forefathers\' ritual, the apparition of the Poet appears in a ruined manor house. He\'s back to the parts of his youth to go once more through the memories of his romantic love for Maryla, as well as dramatic events connected with the Vilnius group of conspirators-patriots. At the cemetery Guślarz (the Sorcerer) starts the Forefathers\' rite. Gustaw mingles into a crowd of villagers and people from bygone ages. More apparitions appear: The Master, the Girl and the Children... In a town a Cossack patrol arrests young conspirators. The Poet visits the Priest\'s hut and recalls his love for Maryla. The Priest recognizes in the stranger his adopted son, Gustaw. At the Royal Castle in Warsaw guests of the new Senator arrive in carriages. In a cell of the Vilnius prison Gustaw turns into Konrad. A mute phantom of the Poet witnesses the metamorphosis. Drunk Senator in his nightmare sees the Emperor and devils fighting for his soul. Christmas Eve in the Vilnius prison. Polish patriots: Żegota, Sobolewski, Jakub, and Frejend go out of their cells and head for the Konrad\'s cell. A salon in the Royal Castle in Warsaw – a meeting place for officials, writers, military men and lady\'s companions. A group of young Poles is standing aside engaged in a patriotic discussion. The conversations at the tables concern the last ball at Novosilcow\'s and the latest gossip. The newcomer from Lithuania tells the story of Cichocki\'s long imprisonment. The ghost of the Poet appears at the door of the salon, listening to the story of Cichocki\'s martyrdom. Konrad\'s cell. Jankowski is singing a blasphemous song. Prisoners are talking about the actions of Novosilcow in Lithuania and their chances during the investigation. Jan Sobolewski tells about the next transportation of their imprisoned colleagues to Siberia. Konrad, left alone by the companions, begins the Great Improvisation. The Poet appears in the cell and picks up the thread of the Improvisation. The words of the monologue mounting a challenge to God are accompanied by the images of contemporary mass gatherings of Poles and the scenes of martyrdom and heroism of the nation during the Second World War. Piotr, the Priest, and a Corporal come to the senseless Konrad. The Priest starts performing an exorcism. He is looking from his cell at the Warsaw\'s Palace of Culture and begins his prayer to God to abandon further slaughter of Polish children. In various parts of the country a symbolic figure of the Pilgrim-Poet appears. Ms. Rollison seeks an audience with Senator Novosilcow concerning a release of her only son. The woman is accompanied by Father Piotr, who – after Ms. Rollison has been cynically sent away – is subjected to questioning. Beaten up and insulted Piotr foretells the near death of Doktor and Pelikan. Young Rollison dies in the Dominican Monastery. The Senator\'s ball. Wincenty Pol and Bestużew discuss Senator\'s assassination. Doktor dies of a stroke of lightning. Piotr meets Konrad being escorted for a hearing and gives him some tips on how to live in exile. At the cemetery the Forefathers ceremony is coming to an end. The participants are leaving at sunrise; a line of sledges with exiles carried to Siberia is moving across the land. One of them is carrying Konrad, and at the next turn – the Poet with a bullet wound on his forehead.


1990 – The Filmmaking Committee Chairman\'s Award in the feature film category (Tadeusz Konwicki)
1990 – The Filmmaking Committee Chairman\'s Award in the feature film category (Allan Starski)
1990 – The Filmmaking Committee Chairman\'s Award in the feature film category (Gustaw Holoubek)
1990 – The Filmmaking Committee Chairman\'s Award in the feature film category (Artur Żmijewski)
1989 – Gdynia Film Festival – Award of the Governor of Gdańsk
1990 – Gdynia Film Festival - Best Supporting Actor (Henryk Bista)
1990 – Gdynia Film Festival – Best Film Score (Zygmunt Konieczny)
1990 – Gdynia Film Festival - Best Sound (Mariusz Kuczyński)
1990 – Gdynia Film Festival – Jury Award
1989 – Warsaw Mermaid Award of the Film Critics Club of the Polish Journalists Association in the category of feature film
1990 – Don Quixote – Award of the Polish Federation of Film Discussion Clubs
1990 – Golden Tape (awarded by the Writers Circle of the Polish Filmmakers Association) in the category of Polish film


Year of production:






Technical specs:

Color, 129 min.



Directed by:

Tadeusz Konwicki

Written by:

Tadeusz Konwicki

Cinematography by:

Piotr Sobociński

Edited by:

Ewa Smal

Music by:

Zygmunt Konieczny

Sound by:

Mariusz Kuczyński

Set Decoration by:

Allan Starski

Costume Designer:

Elżbieta Radke, Małgorzata Obłoza

Production Manager:

Ryszard Chutkowski


Gustaw Holoubek (Hermit-Gustaw – in part IV;
Ghost in the prologue part III;
Gustaw-Konrad – in part III, e.g. in "The Great Improvisation";
Poet – in the last scene of the film reciting the fragment of the foreword to part III),
Jolanta Piętek-Górecka (Maryla, Gustaw\'s love in part IV;
Girl at the Forefathers\' Eve feast in part II;
Virgin in "The Performance";
Angel in the scene of Father Piotr\'s exorcisms;
Woman at "The Forefather\'s Night"),
Artur Żmijewski (Gustaw-Konrad),
Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska (Mrs Rollison in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Maja Komorowska (Sorcerer),
Grażyna Szapołowska (Guardian Angel in the prologue part III),
Henryk Bista (Senator),
Piotr Fronczewski (Jan Sobolewski in the "Prison Scene"),
Tadeusz Łomnicki (Priest in part IV; Man in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Janusz Michałowski (Father Piotr),
Jan Nowicki (Ghost at the Forefathers\' Eve feast in part II; Beelzebub in the "Senator\'s Dream"),
Arunas Smajlis (Adolf in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Marzena Manteska (Maid in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene; Angel in the scene of Father Piotr\'s exorcisms),
Monika Orłoś (Maid in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Hanna Polk (Young Lady in the "Warsaw Salon"; in the credits under the name of Maria),
Maria Quoos-Morawska (Girl at the Forefathers\' Eve feast, Lady I in the "Warsaw Salon", Angel in the scene of Father Piotr\'s exorcisms),
Grażyna Staniszewska (Mrs Kmit in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Ewa Telega-Isajewicz (Lady II in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Grażyna Wolszczak (orderly at the Forefathers\' Eve feast, Duchess in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Marek Bargiełowski (Corporal in the "Prison Scene"),
Juliusz Berger (Kamerjunkier in the "Warsaw Salon", man at the salon in the "Senator\'s Dream"),
Bohdan Ejmont (Bajkow in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Marek Kondrat (Writer I in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Edward Lubaszenko (Pelikan in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Gustaw Lutkiewicz (Doctor in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Ignacy Machowski (General in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Jerzy Nowak (Chorus member at the Forefathers\' Eve feast),
Andrzej Stockinger (Count in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Adam Bauman (Adolf in the "Prison Scene"),
Jacek Bursztynowicz (Father Lwowicz in the "Prison Scene"),
Ryszard Barycz (Master of Ceremony in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Andrzej Blumenfeld (Writer IV in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Dariusz Biskupski (Justyn Pol in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Maciej Borniński (Chorus member at the Forefathers\' Eve feast),
Andrzej Ferenc (Żegota in the "Prison Scene"),
Andrzej Grabarczyk (Zenon Niemojewski in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Mieczysław Hryniewicz (Writer III in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Krzysztof Ibisz (Adam Gurowski in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Michał Juszczakiewicz (Adam Suzin in the "Prison Scene"),
Mieczysław Kalenik (Dancing Man and Starost at the Senator\'s ball),
Marek Kępiński (Second Count in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Piotr Kozłowski (Tomasz Zan in the "Prison Scene", the Youth Chorus member in "The Performance"),
Marek Nowowiejski (Jan Jankowski in the "Prison Scene"),
Aleksander Nowikow (Bestużew in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Antoni Ostrouch (Footman in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene; in the credits under the name of Andrzej),
Piotr Polk (Ludwik Nabielak in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Maciej Robakiewicz (Wysocki in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Andrzej Szenajch (man playing cards in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene, Cossack),
Wojciech Skibiński (Devil II in the "Senator\'s Dream"), Piotr Skarga (Cichowski),
Karol Stępkowski (Writer II in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Piotr Szulkin (Devil I in the "Senator\'s Dream"),
Maciej Szary (Antoni Frejend in the "Prison Scene"),
Krystian Tomczak (Butler in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Siergiej Żigunow (Russian Officer in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Dorota Dobrowolska-Ferenc (Mrs Sowietnik in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Jacek Domański (man playing cards in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Małgorzata Drozd (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Dariusz Dobkowski (Footman at the Senator\'s ball),
Grzegorz Gadziomski (Jakub in the "Prison Scene"),
Andrzej Grzybowski (man playing cards in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Grzegorz Gierak (Senior Officer in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Michał Giziński (Frenchman),
Sławomir Jóźwik (One of the young in the "Warsaw Salon"),
Elżbieta Kamińska (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Grzegorz Kucias (Senator\'s secretary),
Tadeusz Lempkowski (Soldier in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Aleksandra Leszczyńska (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Mariusz Leszczyński (Footman at the Senator\'s ball),
Czesław Mroczek (Footman in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Maria Mamona (Governor\'s wife in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Włodzimierz Nakwaski (Forefather),
Jan Pęczek (guest at the Senator\'s ball),
Małgorzata Prażmowska (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Jerzy Próchnicki (guest at the Senator\'s ball),
Jarosław Pogorzelski (convict, Jacek\'s brother from Jan Sobolewski\'s story),
Piotr Skowroński (guest at the Senator\'s ball),
S. Świtkowski (adjutant),
Jacek Skiba (Jacek in the "Prison Scene"),
Elżbieta Skrętowska (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Tadeusz Somogi (guest at the Senator\'s ball),
Małgorzata Wachecka (Lady at the Senator\'s ball),
Justyna Zbiróg (General\'s wife in "The Senator\'s Ball" scene),
Andrzej Łapicki (Tsar in the "Senator\'s Dream")