The Pearl in the crown

(1972)
   The second part of Kazimierz Kutz's celebrated Silesian trilogy, made after Salt of the Black Earth (1970). The Pearl in the Crown, also scripted by Kutz, concerns the coal miners' strike in the 1930s. The first sequences portray the harsh reality of the economic crisis, the closure of the mines, and the small coal pits run by unemployed miners. The miners try to prevent the closure of their mine, Zygmunt, by occupying it. When negotiations fail, they continue with a hunger strike. The film's protagonist (Olgierd Łukaszewicz) remains with the strikers out of solidarity, although he would rather have stayed at home with his wife (Łucja Kowolik) and their two small sons. The strikers and their leader (Franciszek Pieczka) are supported by the Silesians on the ground and organized by Erwin (Jan Englert), the former insurgent in Salt of the Black Earth, now unemployed.
   The Pearl in the Crown provides discourses on class solidarity, family ties, tradition, love of the family, and love of the land. The film also serves as a powerful love story; the intensity of its lyricism and eroticism is probably unparalleled in Polish cinema. As in Salt of the Black Earth, Kutz portrays Silesia, a region traditionally seen as colorless and almost inhuman, in a poetic folk-ballad manner. Likewise, he glorifies the traditions and celebrates the patriarchal order with highly stylized images, symbolism, and mythologization of everyday rituals. He introduces authentic people playing themselves, speaking their own dialect, and celebrating their own customs. With the help of his cinematographer Stanisław Loth, Kutz also relies on contrast, this time between the harsh reality inside the mine (blackness, hunger strike) and the colorful reality on the ground (the picturesque crowd waiting for the strikers). The film received several international awards and the main prize at the Łagów Film Festival.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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