Beata Tyszkiewicz: We, Slavs, understand each other better

Beata Tyszkiewicz is considered the most beautiful actress of Poland. She appeared in “Common Room”, “City will Die Tonight”, “First Day of Freedom”. The films shot by Andrzej Vajda were the moments of her triumph — “Samson”, “Ashes”, “All for Sale”. One of the recent successful roles is the one of an elderly lady in Mikhail Ptashuk’s “In August of ‘44”. She remembers the days at the film set with particular warmth
Beata Tyszkiewicz is considered the most beautiful actress of Poland. She appeared in “Common Room”, “City will Die Tonight”, “First Day of Freedom”. The films shot by Andrzej Vajda were the moments of her triumph — “Samson”, “Ashes”, “All for Sale”. One of the recent successful roles is the one of an elderly lady in Mikhail Ptashuk’s “In August of ‘44”. She remembers the days at the film set with particular warmth.

— Pani Beata, what do you miss in modern cinema?

— I dislike only one thing — the power of money. I believe you can create a beautiful film even without money, and it will certainly prove very interesting. Such cheaper movies collect all prizes at international film festivals and win Oscars. I think it is not because of money, but the art of acting and skills of directors.

— Can you compare the modern Polish cinema with the art you used to have?

— You cannot make any comparisons here. I appeared in the Belarusian movie “In August of ‘44”, which cost Belarus eight times more than a usual Polish film costs. Belarus can afford shooting a movie and pay taxpayers’ money. Our film studios pay from their profits and may spend as much as sponsors pay. It is very hard to shoot a picture that breaks even or makes money.

— So what is the better option: state financing and pressure or freedom and poverty?

— It would be great to unite these two! In France they protect their cinema from American movies and provide preferences for national makers. This is a very complicated task, because the U.S. has hundreds of movies with top stars, a huge network of cinemas and movie rentals. It is so hard to withstand, as we have too little money to support our cinema. There are many good films, though.

— Are older movies still popular in Poland? Are young people still interested in classics?

— There was a long period of American expansion, but people seem to be getting back to the movies of the bygone. They built a huge number of multiplexes, and box offices feed on 12–25 year-olds. However, the increasing demand for cassettes with Polish movies proves that domestic films are very much required now. The Polish television that has celebrated its 50th anniversary has launched a massive rerun of old Polish pictures that are immensely popular now. We have survived the assault of American films, are we are getting interested in modern Poland.

What films are popular in Poland now? It all depends on movies. American films are not as popular as before. By the way, they have always been showing us second-rated movies just to make money.

— Do they watch modern Russian movies in Poland now?

— There are few of them, but Russia is back in business. People seem to be ashamed of it. They watch these movies on TV and then won’t admit they like “Kalina Krasnaya” or “Station for the Two”. Russian acting school is marvelous. We are Slavs, and we feel each other much better. Whatever politics, people are still people.

— Do you have any authority in your life?

— Everyone has various people that influence his or her life at different stages of life. We all have favorite books, films when we reach certain age. Man gets used to changes and chooses new favorites.

— Do you have any role you still wish to play?

— I have already played everything I wished to play, I have never had problems with roles. Money could be a problem, though, as there sometimes was not enough of it to shoot a quality film.

— Have you ever fallen in love with your film partners?

— No, never. My career has always been detached from my personal life.

— Who wears trousers in your house?

— Me, always me. I am soft and humble, but I demand a lot and never allow anyone to use me, although there are many people wishing to do so. I am unmarried, and everything is simple now. Comfort is the key pleasure for a woman — this is solitude at your choice. Anyways, men and women were not invented by god without a good reason.

— Are you a feminist?

— No, I am not. But I do believe Slavic women have a very strong will and are very courageous. Their men have often been absent taking part in wars and upheavals, whereas women had to take care of home and children all by themselves. These circumstances molded the Slavic woman as she is now, with an extreme sense of responsibility.

— Pani Beata, you look very happy.

— I have no choice, I must be happy. I have achieved a lot, and to say that I am unhappy would be a lie. Everything that happened to me in my life was my choice.

— Don’t your fans bother you?

— They don’t, but I seem to bother them because I have a personal life. Fans are very delicate in Poland, they have no impudence or brutality…

by Alexander Belyaev
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