Director Stanisław Jędryka debuted in 1962 with ‘Impossible Goodbye’. Written by Aleksander Ścibor-Rylski, set in a circus community, the film entered Cannes Film Festival! Four years later, he filmed ‘Return to Earth’ (1966), an intimate drama telling a story of a couple whose once deep relationship is ruined by the traumatic experience of war.
‘Island of Villains’ (1965), the adaptation of historical detective novel by Zbigniew Nienacki, was his first film focusing on young people and their reality. Soon, he discovered Adam Bahdaj, who became his favourite author. Jędryka managed to skilfully transfer some of Bahdaj’s best selling texts onto television and cinema screens (and in many cases, onto both, using the filmed material to produce a full length cinema version, as well as a TV series). And so, ‘Go, Go Paragon!’ (1969) is the cinema interpretation of the popular television series ‘0-1 Until Half-Time’ (1969), based on a novel by the same title, a story of a backyard football team’s capers and adventures; ‘Traveling for a Smile’ (1972) – the cinema version of the series by the same title (1971), based on a book entitled likewise – follows two hitchhiking boys who try to get from Kraków to Hel for their holidays.
Sadly, the following two TV series – ‘Holidays with Ghosts’ (1970), an amusing story of summer adventures of three boys exploring an old castle; and ‘I Bet on Tolek Banan’ (1973), full of unexpected turnouts, a narrative following of a group of troublesome young people fascinated by the mysterious titular character – never made it to the big screen.
Later, Stanisław Jędryka turned to the work of Janusz Domagalik, asking the author to create a script based on his own book entitled ‘The End of Summer Holidays’. Completed in 1974, the resulting film is a profound psychological study, depicting a very much rushed process of growing up of a fourteen year old boy, spanned over a few weeks of summer holiday. Beyond doubt, this is also the director’s most refined work – the peak achievement and one of the most interesting pictures Polish cinema has to offer. Fourteen years later, Stanisław Jędryka returned to Domagalik for one more joint venture, adapting the television series ‘Gang of the Red-Headed Spider’ (1988), based on the author’s popular novel ‘Gang of the Redhead’.
In a moving, yet underappreciated drama adaptation of Maria Ślipek’s book ‘Best in the World’ (1976), Jędryka tells the story of an orphaned boy, craving for his stepfather’s love and affection. In the equally noteworthy ‘Green Years’ (1979), inspired by Jerzy Przeździecki’s book ‘Trio from the Banks of the Black River’, he realistically depicted childhood experiences of three friends set in the first days of World War II: Wojtek, son of an unemployed Pole, Jewish boy Abramek, and Erna, daughter of a German pharmacist. The starting point is much like in the Reymont’s ‘The Promised Land’.
Further, Stanisław Jędryka made two successful and popular series based on the works of Aleksander Minkowski – ‘Madness of Majka Skowron’ (1976), being a contemporary tale about intergenerational conflicts, first affection and first disappointments; and ‘Green Love’ (1978), addressed to young adults, a story of high school graduates on the verge of maturity.
Last but not least, we should also mention two other poignant productions: TV series ‘The Life of Piotr S.’ (1981) being a powerful image of an orphaned child struggling in a hostile environment, and the feature ‘Upside down’ (1982), set in 1939 in Chorzów, a dramatic, unobvious story about friendship, football and cruel reality.
Two loves – cinema and football – completely dominated the life of Stanisław Jędryka, a great friend of the Poznań Festival – a Festival whose programme is organised around two basic vectors of interest… cinema and football. Ale Kino! Football Zone!