The Prince and the Dybbuk

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    The Prince and the Dybbuk

    Directed by

    • Elwira Niewiera

    Poland

    2017

    82 min

    • English
    • Spanish
    • German
    • Hebrew
    • Italian
    • Polish
    • Ukrainian
    • Yiddish

    Documentary

    Who was Moshe Waks really? A golden boy of cinema, cunning fraud or a man who constantly confused the illusion of film with reality? The son of a poor Jewish blacksmith from Ukraine, died in Italy as Prince Michaeł Waszyński, Hollywood producer and exiled Polish aristocrat. He made more than 50 films including cinema hits with Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. However only one film was his true obsession—Der Dibuk (The Dybbuk)—based on an old Jewish legend, the most important and mystical Yiddish film ever made, directed by Waszyński shortly before the the outbreak of the World War II. To the american magazine “Variety” Waszyński once claimed to be fascinated with the downfall of great nations. The related imagery of pogroms and migration are the sights and images that Waszyński had so often witnessed in his life. It seems he had achieved almost everything he could possibly have wished, but something seemed to be stalking him, leaving him permanently restless. Waszyński kept searching for the lost print of his film Der Dibuk (The Dybbuk) which held his early memories of the jewish shtetl and his first love. What secrets did he keep hidden in this old masterpiece of Yiddish cinema?

    Awards

    • Best Documentary on Cinema - Venice IFF

    Festivals

    Labels & Line Ups

    Credits

    Screenplay
    Piotr Rosolowski
    Elwira Niewiera
    Cinematography
    Piotr Rosołowski
    Editing
    Andrzej Dabrowski
    Music
    Maciej Cieślak

    Director's Statement

    Who among us hasn’t wanted to be someone else once in their lifetime? Rarely is anyone as successful in such masterly role-changing as Mike Waszyński. He was a Jew in Kovel, a Pole in Warsaw and finally a Prince in the elite circles of Europe. What price did he pay for his incredible masquerades? Was it possible for him to completely cut himself off from his roots? The times in which he lived didn’t allow him to be himself. When reality becomes unbearable, one begins to live inside one’s own imagination. With the help of cinema he was perfectly successful in pulling off this trick. He became a unique filmmaker, who not only created monumental films, but also made his own life a masterpiece.

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    Elwira Niewiera

    Elwira Niewiera

    Poland

    Elwira studied acting at the European Theater Institut Berlin and the Academy for Theater Practices Gardzenice Poland. Her last documentary THE PRINCE AND THE DYBBUK (directed together with Piotr Rosolowski) won the award for Best Documentary on Cinema at the 74th Venice Film Festival 2017 and the Polish Film Award for Best Documentary 2019. Elwira is a member of the European Film Academy.

    Selected Filmography