Screenplay
Lech Majewski
Screenplays

Majewski is fascinated by the world of art, painting and symbols

His pencil moves swiftly over the paper.

BRUEGEL

So what have we here? It’s a city. The inner circuit of its walls forms an almost perfect circle – the golden circle of life. Simple as that.

Looking at the city, Bruegel draws a circle in the upper-left corner.

BRUEGEL

And another circle on the other side.

He draws another circle opposite.

They are both facing Golgotha.

BRUEGEL

The black circle is the circle of death, surrounded by a crowd that rushed to the place of execution like starving flies.

Bruegel quickly draws a few lines along the very edge of the piece of paper.

BRUEGEL

And down here is the tree of death – with a horse’s head at its foot, and us, the two of us beside it; you’re leaning against the tree, downcast.

He quickly sketches them in. Jonghelinck looks over the painter’s shoulder to see the sketch better. Bruegel draws a few more lines on the opposite side of the paper.

BRUEGEL

And here’s another tree. Its fresh, delicate leaves tremble in the wind. It’s the tree of life. And the backdrop is ready.

JONGHELINCK

Between life and death?

Bruegel nods.

 BRUEGEL

And here’s the third circle, trodden down by the people running from the first to the second. From life to death. Just tell me why they’re in such a hurry.

Jonghelinck looks questioningly.

BRUEGEL

(smiling)

They simply want to know what happens when you reach the gates of death. They want to know but at the same time make it home for lunch.

Before their eyes two dogs run to each other and begin to sniff each other’s tails. Bruegel watches them intently.

BRUEGEL

They want terribly to sniff Death’s backside, but they don’t want to be bitten… Or go inside. They know that if you enter once – and we all finally will – going home is out of the question.

Jonghelinck nods.

Bruegel sketches the mill and its stone foundations. He is a little carried away by his artistic imagination, as far as the height of the rock and the quality of his drawing go. He also draws a tiny miller leaning against the building, intently watching the events unfold.

BRUEGEL

The paintings in our churches depict God watching people through the clouds with disapproval or discontent. I won’t do that in my painting, but I suppose the miller will take on His role. But that’s not all!!!

At the same time, we see the events through the miller’s eyes.

BRUEGEL

He runs the heavenly mill that grinds corn for the bread of life. This mill revolves on its own axis, around which the entire universe revolves in turn. Day and night. Along with all living creatures and its residents. But here…

Bruegel makes delicate pencil strokes along the diagonal ones he made earlier.

BRUEGEL

And here, in the very heart of my spider’s web, one can say that the Saviour himself is being crushed mercilessly like grain under the huge, cosmic millstone of events.

Excerpt translated by David French

Screenplay
Lech Majewski
Screenplays

Majewski is fascinated by the world of art, painting and symbols

Publisher: Rebis, Angelus Silesius, Poznań-Katowice 2016-2019
Translation rights: Rebis, rebis@rebis.com.pl

The three-volume edition of Lech Majewski’s screenplays in an opportunity for readers to familiarize themselves with the world of an artist who since the 1980s has doggedly blazed his own trail, creating original arthouse cinema that is respected all over the world. Majewski’s cinema emerges from thinking pictorially and not in terms of narrative; thus most of his screenplays – like his films – have unconventional forms, which record his imagination, his poetic and painterly visions.

The first two volumes present the screenplays of his best-known films (including Wojaczek, Angelus), as well as uncompleted projects (Ellis Island, Yves, Mon Amour). Beside these fully auteur works there are also two commercial pictures (The Flight of the Spruce Goose, Prisoner of Rio) made in Hollywood and the script for Basquiat which was ultimately directed by the painter Julian Schnabel.

There are certain threads running through Majewski’s cinema, such as: love, death, victimhood, mystery. The artist is fascinated by unusual, over-sensitive individuals who fight against self-destruction, like Basquiat, which presents the story of an avant-garde artist who dies of an overdose.

Majewski is fascinated by the world of art, painting and symbols, the fullest expression of which can be found in volume 3, which consists of five screenplays. This newest publication begins with an unrealised script called Beuys, which is a biographical sketch of one of the most important twentieth-century artists. This avant-garde artist transforms his traumatic wartime experiences into his creations, liberating himself from social conventions through form. The theme of the artist also appears in Glass Lips and the poetic Onirica, inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and Majewski’s own biography. The protagonist – who loses his beloved woman and a close friend in an accident – finds solace in the world of dreams, where he meets the two people closest to him. The theme of death is also present in The Garden of Earthly Delights, which the director based on his own novel Metaphysics. The Mill and the Cross, however, is a kind of apogee of Majewski’s passion for art. The artist invites us into the world of Pieter Bruegel’s The Way of the Cross, which is brought to life by giving some of the painting’s characters their own stories. The screenplay was co-written by the famous art critic Michael F. Gibson, whose analysis of the Dutch master’s work inspired Majewski. The screenwriters made Bruegel himself the guide to this world of rich meanings.

Thus, in the last volume Majewski appears as a cinematic visionary who through his art conducts a dialogue with long-dead masters and at the same time imagines a pessimistic vision of today.

Urszula Tes, translated by David French

Publisher: Rebis, Angelus Silesius, Poznań-Katowice 2016-2019
Translation rights: Rebis, rebis@rebis.com.pl

Selected samples

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Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Olanda
Wojciech Kudyba
Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Bienczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Majewski
Weronika Murek
Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Swietek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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