“Kultura, Giedroyc and Others” is a documentary created on the initiative of Poland’s public broadcaster TVP. It premiered at Maisons-Laffitte, in the suburbs of Paris, where the headquarters of the Literary Institute “Kultura”, headed by one of Poland’s greatest 20th-century luminaries Jerzy Giedroyc, can be found.
It is in one of the houses of the small suburban town overlooking the capital of France that a crucial institution for the post-WWII Polish intellectual life was born. Free from communist influences, it became an informal capital of Polish intellectual life and political thought outside of Poland. Called in Polish “Kultura paryska” or simply “the Literary Institute”, it was headed by the charismatic Polish intellectual Jerzy Giedroyc in the years 1947 to 2000.
Revolving around Jerzy Giedroyc and the Institute, the “Kultura, Giedroyc and Others” documentary was directed by Tadeusza Śmiarowskiego.
“The film shows certain chapters and it ends with the year 2000 when Jerzy Giedroyc passes away,” Mr Śmiarowski told TVP World, adding that Giedroyc “closed the millennium and he closed the chapter of ‘Kultura paryska’ as the publisher of the monthly magazine.”
“Now we have ‘Kultura paryska’ as a foundation, an institute that is basically taking care of preserving the archives. It also created a site ‘Kultura paryska’, which allows young people… to click and find out more about this amazing place,” Mr Śmiarowski said.
The premiere was also attended by Mateusz Matyszkowicz, TVP board member and the initiator of the project.
“I hope this film resonates with people as it shows that we should be talking about Giedroyc time and time again,” said Mr Matyszkowicz, adding that “there should be more films like that to inspire more debates.”
Last but not least TVP World had the pleasure of interviewing a very special guest of the premiere, Countess Viridianna Rey, daughter of Count Edward Raczyński – Foreign Minister and later President of the Polish government-in-exile in London during WWII and the communist occupation of Poland that lasted until 1989.
“My father lived in London. He did not come very often to Paris but he was in constant contact with Giedroyc and, of course, he read ‘Kultura’ very, very thoroughly. Every month he got his copy,” the Countess told TVP World, adding that given her father being sight-challenged, “my sisters and I read him as well and his wife also did a lot of reading and he had a lady who used to come to read for him as well so he was always very much in contact with ‘Kultura’.”
“I remember there was always ‘Kultura’. We always had ‘Kultura’ to read, always,” she recalled.