The film by Krzysztof Zanussi is one of the most-important pieces of Polish cinema in its history. It is a story about love, which was born in the ruins of WWII, somewhere in the Wild West, i.e. the so-called Recovered Territories, which Poland was granted after 1945.
The story begins in 1946, in a little town near Zielona Góra, where an American military commission comes to find mass graves of Allied POW’s murdered by the Germans. Norman (played by Scott Wilson), an American officer, meets Emilia (Maja Komorowska), a woman in her forties, who lives together with her sick mother, in dreadful conditions. Norman falls in love with Emilia, and his fascination with her soon turns into mutual interest.
Zanussi in Toruń
Krzysztof Zanussi made the film in Toruń almost in its entirety. The scenes in the film were shot in the following locations
- ul. Podmurna, along the section from Most Pauliński (Paulinian Bridge) to Plac Teatralny (Theatre Square),
- on Most Pauliński (Paulinian Bridge),
- inside the Great Hall at the Arthus House – the dancing scene in the film,
- on the street by the rotunda-shaped prison (“Okrąglak”), and
- on ul. Św. Jakuba.
- The film was an official Polish candidate for Academy Awards, but it was withdrawn at the last moment, after an intervention by the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party, as the film director recollected.
- The direct impulse for filming the story was the imposing of Martial Law, in 1981. That was the moment when Zanussi decided to make a film based on the story.
- In the 9th minute of the film, Maja Komorowska is passing a military hospital on a bike, and just a moment later appears at the entrance to a cobbled street. In reality, the hospital and the street are 70 kilometres away from each other. The former Jesuit monastery (next to the City Council) in Grudziądz was chosen to “play” the hospital, while the street shown in the film is one of the streets in the New-Town Market Square – ul. Św. Jakuba.
- The script for the film was based on a true story.
- The location chosen as the “film home” of the main heroine Emilia did not undergo any “adapting” for the purpose of the film. The tenement houses built right in the heart of the Old Town burned down in the fire which had broken out some time before filming started. The then authorities decided to leave them as they were, as the city was facing great financial problems one year after withdrawing Martial Law.
- A number of individual shoots were also done near the former Jesuit monastery (today occupied by the City Council) in Grudziądz.
Information on the film
Rok spokojnego Słońca / The Year of the Quiet Sun
Poland/USA/Germany 1984, 105’
Directed by: Krzysztof Zanussi
Screenplay: Krzysztof Zanussi
Cinematography: Sławomir Idziak
Music: Wojciech Kilar
Produced by: Zespół Filmowy “TOR”
Cast: Maja Komorowska, Scott Wilson, Hanna Skarżanka, Ewa Dałkowska, Vadim Glovna, Jerzy Stuhr, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Janusz Gajos, Marek Kondrat, and others.
The Venice IFF – Golden Lion; Venice IFF – The Award of the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists for a foreign film; Golden Globe – nomination for the best foreign film; the Golden Duck Awards – an award for Best Film Director awarded at international festivals; and others.