Yesterday the world premiere of Piotr Chrzan’s Klezmer took place at the Venice Film Festival as part of the Venice Days competition. It’s a fictional story inspired by real-life events from World War II about the persecution of Jewish escapees from the ghetto, who in 1943 were hiding in the forests surrounding the city of Bialystok. A group of Poles collecting pine cones find a wounded and unconscious klezmer. If they turn the escapee in, they will get a reward; if they hide him, they might get killed. The wounded Jew is a musician who plays at wedding parties in the nearby villages.
Still from Klezmer
“He represents the profession of a klezmer, which is dying out and has pejorative connotations,” Pior Chrzan told the organizers of Cinergia. “He becomes a catalyst for the stance of Polish people regarding their decision on how to behave in this extremely difficult situation. I didn’t want to put emphasis neither on anti-Semitic acts or stereotypes about Jews, nor on those who were risking their lives hiding them. I wanted to show how complex and painful the problem was.”
Klezmer was qualified for the competition alongside 11 other films. It’s a great distinction – only three Polish films have been shown so far in this prestigious section: Andrzej Jakimowski’s Tricks, Michał Rosa’s Scratch and Leszek Dawid’s Ki. We are holding talks with the producer and the director in order to invite the film to the 20th edition of Cinergia.
Piotr Chrzan graduated with a degree in Philosophy and attended Wajda School. He was the co-scriptwriter for Paweł Wendorff’s film Odd One Out. He also directed several short films which received awards abroad.