Hoffman, Jerzy

   Film director known chiefly for his popular epic adaptations of Henryk Sienkiewicz's historical trilogy: Pan Michael (Pan Wołodyjowski, 1969), The Deluge (Potop, 1974), and With Fire and Sword (Ogniem i mieczem, 1999). Hoffman started his career with documentary films produced with Edward Skórzewski, such as Attention, Hooligans! (Uwaga, chuligani! 1955), the forerunner of "black series" (see BLACK REALISM) films dealing with social maladies. His early feature films attempted to adapt the generic conventions of popular cinema to Polish reality: satirical comedy found expression in Gangsters and Philanthropists (Gansterzy i filantropi, 1962) and the Western genre was transplanted in Law and Fist (Prawo i pięść, 1964), codirected with Edward Skórzewski.
   As stated earlier, Hoffman owes his fame to the adaptations of Sienkiewicz's trilogy, set in the turbulent mid-seventeenth century. Its first part, Pan Michael, is a generic adventure film dealing with the seventeenth-century defense of Christianity against the Islamic Turks and featuring a likeable protagonist, Michał Wołodyjowski, played by Tadeusz Łomnicki. The two-part, five-hour-long epic The Deluge is set during the Swedish invasion of Poland known as the "Swedish deluge." Hoffman narrates a melodramatic love story between color sergeant Andrzej Kmicic (Daniel Olbrychski) and Oleńka Billewi-czówna (Małgorzata Braunek). The last, equally popular installment, With Fire and Sword, promotes reconciliation between Poland and Ukraine via, among other things, the elimination of several scenes that would be offensive to contemporary Ukrainians. With 6.7 million viewers, With Fire and Sword became the most successful (in terms of box office) film shown in Poland between 1992 and 1999. Hoffman's list of other adaptations includes the reworkings of popular prewar adaptations The Leper (Trędowata, 1976) and The Quack (Znachor, 1982) and the adaptation of Józef Ignacy Kraszewski's pseudohistori-cal novel The Old Tale (Stara Baśń, 2004).
   Other films: Three Steps on Earth (Trzy kroki po ziemi, 1965), Father (Ojciec, 1967), According to the Decrees of Providence (Wedle wyroków twoich, 1983), Till the Last Drop of Blood (Do krwi ostatniej, 1978), Beautiful, Unknown Lady (Piękna nieznajoma, 1992).
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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