Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz

The script for Celuloza (Cellulose) was based on the original novel Pamiątka z Celulozy (A Souvenir from the Cellulose Mill) by Igor Newerly. Its adaptation was undertaken by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, one of the most-outstanding filmmakers in the history of Polish cinema, nominated for Academy Awards for his Faraon/Pharaoh (he also made Pociąg/Night Train, Matka Joanna od Aniołów/Mother Joan of the Angels, Śmierć prezydenta/The Death of a President, Austeria/The Inn, and Quo Vadis). The film tells the story of Szczęsny, a poor villager, who turns into a fighter for the ideals of Communism.

The framework of the film is a conversation between the main protagonist and a woman, a communist activist, he runs into by chance, and tells her about his life.

Visiting the places in Włocławek connected with the film

The film was made predominately in Włocławek, at the then Julian Marchlewski Cellulose-Paper Factory located on ul. Łęgska. Today, only some ruins remain as a distinctive symbol of Communist Poland and the city of Włocławek.

Many shots in the film are dominated by the high brick chimney of the Cellulose Factory, demolished in 2009 – it used to be one of the most-distinguishable elements in the city panorama for many years.

As well as in Włocławek, the film was also shot in Toruń and Warsaw.

Toruń was the location of the barracks where Szczęsny served in the army. The film crew adapted the barracks situated on ul. Warszawska, which now house Secondary School No. 10.


  • Originally, the film was to be 2 hours long, but, faced with an extensive script, the film director decided to make a two-part film, i.e. Cellulose (its original working title was The Birth of Man) and Under the Phrygian Star (working title The Road to Grenada).
  • The music in the film was played by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice.
  • The film had its première in April 1954, and its second part. Pod gwiazdą frygijską/Under the Phrygian Star. was released in cinemas six months later.
  • Włocławek is not a city shown frequently in Polish films, but one can see a number of shoots taken there in a film by Hungarian film director Márta Mészáros, and in Blizna/The Scar by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Information on the film

Celuloza / Celullose

Poland 1953, 120′

Directed by: Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Screenplay: Igor Newerly, Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Cinematography: Seweryn Kruszyński

Music: Henryk Czyż

Produced by: Wytwórnia Filmów Fabularnych (Łódź)

Cast: Józef Nowak, Stanisław Milski, Zbigniew Skowroński, Teresa Szmigielówna, Halina Przybylska, and others.

Selected Awards

Nagroda Państwowa I stopnia (The State Award of the First Degree) for Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Nagroda Państwowa II stopnia (The State Award of the Second Degree) for Stanisław Milski and Józef Nowak, and others.