Wśród nocnej ciszy 

Directed by Tadeusz Chmielewski

Wśród nocnej ciszy is often considered the best crime story in the history of Polish cinema. Nowadays, following the triumph of a wave of Scandinavian crime thrillers, the film by Tadeusz Chmielewski is sometimes described as “the best Scandinavian crime story from Poland.”

Filmed in 1978, it was based on the novel Śledztwo prowadzi radca Heumann/Příběh kriminálního rady written by Ladislav Fuks in 1971. It is a morbid story about looking for a serial killer, which combines a crime plot with psychological elements.

Tadeusz Chmielewski remains one of only a few Polish filmmakers who dedicated virtually their entire film work to genre cinema.
In his “Wśród nocnej ciszy,” he showed both his excellent taste for psychological horrors and the capability of creating expressive characters. Together with the cinematographer and music composer, all three of them managed to create a very-dark atmosphere, which has its effect on the viewers.

Bydgoszcz and Toruń

The most-essential shots in the film by Tadeusz Chmielewski were taken in Bydgoszcz
and Toruń. When filming in Bydgoszcz, the film crew used outdoor locations by the Brda River and in the Old Town. The locations included

  • Mill Island the and buildings of the so-called “Venice of Bydgoszcz,”
  • the three granaries on ul. Grodzka – in the scenes where a mute police informer is interrogated,
  • the wharf of the Brda River near ul. Stary Port – seen in the scenes involving a barge from Gdańsk,
  • ul. Pod Blankami – in the scene of the lynching of a random man,
  • at the mouth of the Brda River in Bydgoszcz-Łęgnowo – in the scenes showing the “retreat” of the Police Commissioner’s son.

The film was also shot in a number of outdoor locations and interiors in Toruń. They include

  • ul. Ciasna in the Old Town – in the scene of driving in the Police Commissioner’s car,
  • Port Zimowy by the Vistula River near ul. Rybaki – in the scenes involving the dream boat of the young protagonists,
  • the interior of St Mary’s Church near the Old Town Market – in the scene with a boys’ choir.

Trivia

  • The film was also made outside Kujawsko-Pomorskie, i.e. in Wrocław and Warszawa.
  • The film features a great many “spices” (details, props, etc.) which seem to pop up accidentally, as if “in passing”, but they do build a specific atmosphere, add some details to certain characters in the film, and give hints about hidden meanings.  One of such additional details is a random man lynched by a mob, which is a reference to “M – A City Searches for a Murderer” by Fritz Lang, and the child mask worn by Rick Costello.
  • Ladislav Fuks also wrote a novel entitled Spalovač mrtvol (literally The incinerator of corpses or The Cremator), which was adapted for the screen in 1967 by Jurij Herz, under the same title, featuring Rudolf Hrušínský in the main role

Information on the film

Wśród nocnej ciszy  / Amid the night silence

Poland 1978, 116′

Directed by: Tadeusz Chmielewski

Screenplay: Tadeusz Chmielewski

Cinematography: Jerzy Stawicki

Music: Jerzy Matuszkiewicz

Produced by: Zespół Filmowy X

Copyright: Studio Filmowe Kadr

Cast: Tomasz Zaliwski, Piotr Łysak, Henryk Bista, Mirosław Konarowski, Jerzy Bończak, Bolesław Smela, and others.

Selected Awards

The Gdańsk Film Festival – The “Silver Badge” Award for production design; and others.

Bydgoszcz

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