film screening and discussion
How to Be Loved
Od–jazd Film Club meeting
How to Be Loved [Jak być kochaną], directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has, Poland 1963, 97'
- The most extraordinary and elitist of the masters of Polish cinema, Wojciech Jerzy Has, in a unique and surprising melodrama. On a flight to Paris, Felicja (Barbara Krafftówna) remembers her past during occupation when, as a young actress preparing for the role of Ophelia, she fell in love with a handsome fellow actor Wiktor (Zbigniew Cybulski). When he ends up wanted by the Gestapo, Felicia decides to hide him in her apartment, hoping that Wiktor will eventually reciprocate her feelings and stay with her after the war ends. The struggle for love leads Felicia to more and more sacrifices, but she does not hesitate. Will this be enough to win Wiktor’s heart?
- Based on a short story by Kazimierz Brandys, How to Be Loved is considered the last masterpiece of the Polish Film School, although Has’s film is a polemic with its paramount works rather than a continuation. Instead of a story about the heroic struggle of the collective, we get a completely individual, even intimate female perspective. Barbara Krafftówna, in the finest performance of her career, considered one of the best female roles in the history of Polish cinema, gives the suffering of Felicia a deeply personal yet universal dimension. Cybulski, meanwhile, is intriguing as he self-ironically demythologizes his screen image from Ashes and Diamonds. Has’s film gives voice to the marginalised victims of history, reminding us that their personal suffering and dramas can affect us just as deeply.
- To what extent does How to Be Loved fulfil the principles of film melodrama?
- Does the director give equal opportunities to both protagonists?
- How does the film argue with the paramount works of the Polish Film School?
- We will try to answer these and many other questions together with our club’s expert Mikołaj Mirowski (PhD). We invite you to the screening and discussion, during which you will be able to ask questions and share your ideas on how to interpret the film. What do you think How to Be Loved is about? We want to hear your opinion!
- dr Mikołaj Mirowski (PhD)
- Historian, publicist, editor-in-chief of the quarterly Pleograf [Pleograph], published by FInA (Polish National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute). Collaborator of the Warsaw Rising Museum, the Polish History Museum and the Museum of Independence Traditions in Łódź. Academic expert in the history of the USSR and the subject of Polish-Jewish relations. Author of the script of the programme Pojedynki stulecia [Duels of the century], dedicated to the most outstanding Polish writers of the 20th century, broadcast in 2018 on TVP Kultura. Since 2019, he has been presenting the series Teatr historii [Theatre of history] on TVP Historia channel, consisting of the best performances of the Television Theatre on historical topics. Author of books, including Piłsudski (nie)znany. Historia i popkultura [Piłsudski (un)known. History and pop culture] (2018). A passionate fan of Polish cinema, especially the works of Wajda, Kawalerowicz, Kutz and Wojciech Jerzy Has, his The Manuscript Found in Saragossa above all.