Press release for "The View..."

"View from the Cathedral,” directed by Pawel Kuczynski, is a 90-minute documentary about MAREK J. SIEMEK (1942-2011), an esteemed professor of Warsaw University, a world class specialist on classical German philosophy, a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Bonn - the first post war German "honoris causa" title given to a Polish philosopher. Siemek was also a charismatic personality whose legendary Warsaw seminars shaped a generation.

The film is based on recreations (Siemek is played by Stanislaw Elsner-Zaluski), including the hero’s interactions with Hegel, Schiller, Fichte and Marx, interviews and archival materials. A central place among those who talk about Marek J. Siemek belongs to his beloved master, prof. Bronislaw Baczko, whose absence in Poland after the anti-Semitic campaign of 1968 tormented Siemek with pain and guilt.

In addition to portraying Siemek the philosopher, the film attempts to explore an ideological and psychological dramatic split common among those Polish intellectuals who succumbed to the allure of Marxism. It is also a story about the difficult and almost always lost duels that ideas wage against reality.

The title refers to the two major themes of the film. “The View” represents the philosophy of an image as developed by Johann Gotlieb Fichte (“our consciousness consists of images”), “the cathedral," aside from an ethical metaphor, relates to the university departments divided into "chairs" (from latin "cathedra" meaning a seat with a back support).   This etymology becomes clearer in the world of polish academia where the university departmental structure (dismantled as part of the post-1968 repressions) was divided into “cathedrals"("katedra" in Polish.)   Marek J. Siemek belonged to a “cathedral” run by two intellectual giants, Bronislaw Baczko and Leszek Kolakowski, both of whom were later forced to emigrate. Some believe that Siemek’s failed attempts to recreate the tradition of his “cathedral” contributed to his stroke and premature death.

The first ever cast and crew screening of the film is scheduled for May 23rd, at 6:30 PM in the main auditorium of the “Old Library” building at Warsaw University. A reception will follow. Invitations through pawel@directing.com

More info at www.directing.com and deafearsmadness.blogspot.com

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