'Karol who became a saint' – is the first family movie about John Paul II. Viewers can see the saint Pope in the new light because from the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy.

In the opinion of Poles John Paul II is still present in their life. They know him from their own experience. After all, many of us have personal memories from our pilgrimages. - Pope is like air for Poles they breathe. They breathe it, but not thinking on how they do it – says Fr. dr. Przemysław Śliwiński, a spokesman of the archdiocese of Warsaw.

However, there is a bigger and bigger generation of Poles, who do not remember the Pope at all. They know him only as a historic person from photos, books and archival films. And the family film 'Karol who became a saint' was made especially for them. - There are many films about the life of the Pope. It is high time we were building histories without a palpable presence of John Paul II – says Grzegorz Sadurski, a film-maker.

The representatives of the generation who did not have an occasion to live during the pontificate of John Paul II are Andrzej and Kamil Tkacz. These nearly identical twins, play a role of 12 -year-old Kacper. - We do not remember John Paul II who died when we were only 3 years old – says Andrzej Tkacz. So, the participation in the film was for the boys a personal experience, a discovery of the Polish Pope.

Wojtyła was somebody

'Who was this Karol?' - asks Kacper. 'I had such a friend. I told you, he had been somebody. He rearranged half of the world' – the grandfather tells his grandson.

The story about the 'somebody', that is, Wojtyła, opens a new narration to the young main character, during which viewers recognize the animated story of John Paul II. - It is not a biographical or documentary film. It is an invented fictional plot set in the Polish realities – says Grzegorz Sadurski.

The movie character, Kacper, struggles with a group of school hooligans who bully weaker students. When the grandfather whose role is played by Piotr Fronczewski, found out about his grandson's problems at school, he takes him for a trip to Tatra mountains for a weekend. On this occasion, he teaches the 12-year-old boy courage and how to cope with difficult conditions of nature. Telling a story about his friend Karol who often had saved him from difficult situations. During the retrospection, the contemporary realities of the film change into an animated story of Karol Wojtyła and his friends.

For the youngest actors the work on this film was time to get to know Karol Wojtyła and also the times in which he lived. - We heard that he had travelled a lot but we did not know that he had used to go for trips in the mountains – says Andrzej Tkacz. - The film strengthened our belief that John Paul II was a good and a very courageous man. I would like to be like Him.

A signpost for teenagers

The film in an understandable and attractive form mixes actors' movie, original archival materials from the times of the pontificates of John Paul II, with the Italian animation of Orlando Corradi. Actors, among the others, Piotr Fronczewski and Katarzyna Glinka starred in the film. The role of the boy was played by the twin brothers Kamil and Andrzej Tkacz. Whereas Artur Żmijewski played the role of the pope. Besides the famous actors viewers will also hear many famous hits of Noah's Ark.

The intention of the film-makers was to show John Paul II as a man who astonished the world. What is more, his attitude, teaching and words, are still universal. With the suitably built narration it turns out that the saint Pope can be an excellent signpost also for the contemporary 12-year-olds.

The multi-threaded narration takes young viewers into the reality of communist terrorism which turned out to be weak when facing the faith strength. So, the value of the film is a clear division into the good and the bad. Karol Wojtyła is here a defender of freedom and dignity of Poles. Whereas communist authorities intimidate people and want to possess them. - We did not know that Karol Wojtyła was fighting against the communists to this extent. Now I know that they were much more dangerous than school hooligans, with whom Kacper was struggling – emphasizes Kamil Tkacz.

The film about family

Kacper's father was killed during leading military mission. He needs masculine support because a single mother cannot cope with problems of her teenage son. - This is a real contemporary family, which is often incomplete and very busy. Her problems are also typical – says Katarzyna Glinka, who plays the role of Kacper's mum. A grandfather also comes with help. He has a lot of time for his grandson, listens to him. He shows the boy such values as friendship, trustfulness and a need of contact with relatives.

The main axis of the film is the family and relations between generations. - The crisis of the family is a fact today. What connects Karol Wojtyła with the situation of today's families is the fact that he felt the lack of his mother and father's presence, because he had lost them very early.

So, he knew very well that the lack of real presence of parents touches the youngest the most – says Fr. dr. Przemysław Śliwiński, the spokesman of the archdiocese of Warsaw. - I am very glad that this film was made. It is extremely valuable because it tells us a story about Pope in a child's language. Whereas the canonization of John Paul II can be the last chance in order to tell a story of the Polish Pope so widely and anew.


"Niedziela" 13/2014

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl