INTERVIEW WITH CEZARY PAZURA
Julia Materna: How do you recall the film set? What do you remember best from filming? It was still early in your acting career
Cezary Pazura: Above all, I remember my youth and my enthusiasm for work. The most memorable experience was filming the scene in the hospital, where I smash the cupboards, I was nervous. There is a funny story connected with the aforementioned scene. The director Władysław Pasikowski and the cinematographer Paweł Edelman had a bit of an argument and there was a break in shooting. I was in a hurry cause I was supposed to perform in Warsaw later that day. I remember that we had very little time to do this scene. I practically did one take because I was terribly nervous. Their argument helped me a lot to play out the emotions you see on the screen.
JM: Was the mentioned scene so violent on purpose?
CP: Yes. I was in a hurry and had to do it quickly and boldly. I was upset with my colleagues and you can clearly see that in the scene. I was very happy that it turned out this way. I received the most praise and kind words for this exact scene. Indeed it came out with a bravado. And the film itself was important to me because it was the first time I met a living legend, my beloved actor, Janusz Gajos, on the set. It is always a great experience for a young actor. It was an important moment for me.
JM: What was your relationship with Bogusław Linda?
CP: I already knew Bogusław from "Krol", because we worked together on Władek's debut. Working on the movie "Psy" was our second meeting. Since then, the audience seems to like us together. The Linda-Pazura couple has become a cult in Pasikowski's films. I kind of regret that we only made few films together. They like to do this in America. If a movie duo is successful and profitable it is repeated as long as it works. I had too few opportunities to play with Bogusław. Later we appeared together in "Psy 2: The Last Blood" and in Maciej Ślesicki's movie "Dad". These are our only common roles. Now, years later, we met on the film “Psy 3. In the name of the rules".
JM: The movie "Psy", at that time, was innovative and maybe a bit surprising. Later, of course, it became a cult production.
CP: Yes, first of all the film touched upon the subject of folders and burning of the security office's past. It has become very symbolic throughout the process of change that has taken place in our country. Pasikowski's films enjoyed great popularity at that time. Everyone envied him for the lightness of his pen: he was great at writing dialogues, scripts, and he directed very good films. Andrzej Wajda said about Pasikowski that he knows more about the Polish viewer than any other director. Indeed, Władysław comes from Łódź and is a great observer of life. He has found himself perfectly in those times. He is also an outstanding specialist - he graduated from the great Lodz Film School at the Directing Department. I don't think any of us realised then that we were doing something important. This film gave rise to modern Polish cinema. A reviewer once wrote that Polish viewers returned to the cinemas thanks to Pasikowski. There was a moment in our history, I also had the feeling that when I heard the "Polish film", I knew that I would definitely not buy a ticket. You used to see American films exclusively back then. The Polish ones were boring, clichéd, and on picked topics that we, young people, were not interested in.
JM: Olaf Lubaszenko mentioned that initially the film was modelled on "Miami Police". Only later was the script adapted to Polish realities.
CP: We loved the American movies. We liked to watch them and that's why we wanted to create something similar, only in Polish and with Polish characters. Władysław Pasikowski worked perfectly with this style and period. He found the key to success that everyone envied him for afterwards. We were yet to realise that the movie “Psy" would become a cult movie. The quotes from "Psy" are known to this day. Someone funny once said about Pasikowski that when it comes to dialogues, on a scale of 1 to 10 you have to give him 12 points. Every script he wrote was an instant hit. It's unbelievable. It was the golden age of his career. It was nice and I am pleased to this day that I could meet Władek and the actors on the set of such an important film in the history our cinematography.
JM: You were a very young actor back then, and you got a really important role in the film. How did you feel about it then?
CP: It may sound funny, but I was hoping for something more. In "Kroll" I got an award at the Gdynia Award Festival and I thought that after this film I would exclusively play the main roles for Pasikowski. It turned out that I was playing “New". I didn't know how to read scripts then. This role seemed mediocre to me.
JM: You gave it a lot of soul.
CP: That's what I learned. It is the actor who gives meaning to a script. Mr. Wajda always said - "the cast is half the battle".
JM: What were your favourite lines from the movie?
CP: My favourites are all uttered by Franz Maurer. For example, "You're an old piece of ass" or "What do you know about killing". These are iconic. I think the movie got half a star in one of the ratings when it hit theatres. Now, twenty or so years later, it has received eight or even ten stars. Everyone says "Psy" is iconic. Critics don't necessarily understand movies when they're released. If you live in a given time, you usually have some confidence in what is happening today. When something new is created, not everyone is necessarily ready for it. This, however, was something new. This is the first time such a bold proposal has appeared.
There is a famous scene in the film, when a drunk security officer is carried on the door, singing "Janek Wiśniewski has fallen".
JM: This scene was considered to be very controversial.
CP: Władek even wanted to cut it out of the movie. I remember asking him a not to do it. "If history remembers you one day, it will be primarily because of this scene."
JM: Yes, it still evokes emotions and resonates.
CP: That's it! This is strong. Artists should not be afraid of controversy.