Kazimiers Kutz

6.9 Salt of the Black Earth (1970)

Kazimiers Kutz debuted with Krzyz Walecznych/ Cross of Valor (1959), based on short stories by Jozef Hen, a veiled polemic against Wajda's take on Poland's role in World War II, followed by the psychological drama Nikt nie Wola/ Nobody's Calling (1960), based on a Jozef Hen novel and photographed by Jerzy Wojcik. He became more ambitious with the moral thriller Ludzie z Pociagu/ Night Train (1961), based on a short story by Marian Brandys.

Kutz turned to village life with Tarpany/ Wild Horses (1962), based again on Marian Brandys' stories, and debuting cinematographer Wieslaw Zdort, Milczenie/ Silence (1963), based on Jerzy Szczygiel's novel, about a boy who loses his sight and the superstitions of the villagers, Ktokolwiek Wie/ Whoever Knows (1966), an investigation a` la Orson Welles' Citizen Kane but set in rural Poland, and Skok/ The Leap (1967), based on a short story by Edmund Gluchowski.

In between, he directed the surrealistic farce Upal/ Heat (1964), shot by Wieslaw Zdort, starring Jerzy Wasowski and Jeremi Przybora of Kabaret Starszych Panow.

His most personal work was the quasi-ethnographic "Slesian trilogy": Sel Ziemi Czarnej/ Salt of the Black Earth (1970), about the 1920 Slesian uprising against the Germans, which mixes industrial landscape and traditional rituals, photographed by Wiestaw Zdort, under the influence of both Michelangelo Antonioni and Sergej Paradzanov, the film that launched actor Olgierd Lukaszewicz; Perta w Koronie/ The Pearl in the Crown (1972), about a strike of coal miners in the 1930s, photographed by Stanistaw Loth to look like a fairy tale, starring Franciszek Pieczka, with music by Wojciech Kilar; and the nostalgic Paciorki Jednego Rezarica/ Beads of One Rosary (1980), set in the present, acted by nonprofessional local actors, the story of a retired miner (played by a real retired miner) who dies when he is forced to leave his home, due to be demolished.

In between he directed the mediocre Linia/ The Line (1974) and Znikad Donikad/ From Nowhere to Nowhere (1975).

Then came: the patriotic Na Strazy Swej Stac Bede/ I Shall Always Stand Guard (1983), set during World War II, Wkrotce Nadejda Bracia/ The Brothers Will Come Soon (1985), based on a play by Janusz Krasinski, the mediocre Straszny sen Dzidziusia Gorkiewicza/ The Terrible Dream of Babyface Gorkiewicz (1993), the intriguing Zawrocony/ The Convert (1994), Smierc jak Kromka Chleba/ Death Like a Slice of Bread (1994), Pulkownik Kwiatkowski/ Colonel Kwiatkowski (1995), set in the Stalinist era, the TV miniseries Slawa i Chwala/ Fame and Glory (1997), based on Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz's novel, etc.

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