Rejs/A Trip Down the River is a film which bucked the accepted norms. The whole action takes place on the Dzierżyński, a little ship cruising from Gdańsk to Warsaw, and is wholly based on conversations between the trippers and their disquisitions.
It would be difficult to summarise the plot in the film which breaks with smooth narration, which is interlaced with jokes, absurd situations, and improvisations by the actors, who are accompanied by a “dream team” of non-professional actors. Under this seemingly unattractive appearance, there is a whole volcano of implied meanings, bitter mockery, and brutal observations of the social and political structure of Poland and the life of the Polish people at the time. The film is ripe with intelligent irony. The film is not only based on perfect dialogues, but also uses effective pauses to its advantage. The entire script is a mockery of the official language in force at the time, the communist and bureaucratic “newspeak”.
The shooting of the film started in November 1969. Marek Piwowski, who directed the film, was just beginning his film career.
Jan Himilsbach was one of the “faces” introduced to Polish cinema, thanks to Rejs/A Trip Down the River. The film by Piwowski was his screen début and marked the beginning of his timeless presence in the firmament of Polish cinema.
In the film, non-professional actors are accompanied by professional players, who already had a lot of cabaret experience. It was Stanisław Tym from the STS Students’ Theatre, Jerzy Dobrowolski, instigator of the first post-War cabarets in Poland, and Zdzisław Maklakiewicz, for whom the film was a gateway to fame. It was during the shooting of Rejs that Maklakiewicz and Himilsbach became friends, this way creating one of the most-distinctive acting duos in Polish cinema, for many a long year.
Rejs / A Trip Down the River
Poland 1970, 65′
Directed by: Marek Piwowski
Screenplay: Janusz Głowacki, Marek Piwowski, Jerzy Karaszkiewicz, and Andrzej Barszczyński
Cinematography: Marek Nowicki
Music: Wojciech Kilar
Produced by: Zespół Filmowy Tor
Cast: Stanisław Tym, Zdzisław Maklakiewicz, Jan Himilsbach, Wanda Stanisławska – Lothe, Irena Iżykowska, Jolanta Lothe, Jerzy Dobrowolski, Andrzej Dobosz, Ryszard Pietruski, Jerzy Karaszkiewicz, and others.
The Samovar Award of Cinema Enthusiasts given by the Film Discussion Club in Świebodzin; 1st place in the poll by the Polityka weekly magazine for the end of the Century – “The most-interesting Polish films of the 20th Century.