With Fire and Sword (film)
|With Fire and Sword|
Polish release poster
|Directed by||Jerzy Hoffman|
|Produced by||Jerzy Frykowski, Jerzy Hoffman, Jerzy R. Michaluk|
|Written by||Jerzy Hoffman
|Based on||With Fire and Sword
by Henryk Sienkiewicz
|Music by||Krzesimir Dębski|
|Edited by||Marcin Bastkowski
|Language||Polish, Ukrainian English subtitles |
|Budget||24,000,000 zł ~ $8,000,000 (as of Aug. 2010)|
|Box office||In ~1999, probably excluding later BD, DVD, VHS, TV: $26,366,071PLN: 105 089 363
Cinema only - viewed by people/tickets: 7 151 354 
With Fire and Sword (Polish: Ogniem i Mieczem; Ukrainian: Вогнем і Мечем, Vohnem i Mechem) is a 1999 Polish historical drama film directed by Jerzy Hoffman. The film is based on the novel With Fire and Sword, the first part in The Trilogy of Henryk Sienkiewicz. At the time of its filming it was the most expensive Polish film ever made.
The story is set in Ukrainian lands of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland of the 17th century during the Khmelnytsky Uprising 1648-51. A Polish knight Skrzetuski and a Cossack otaman Bohun fall in love with the same woman, Helena. Their rivalry unfolds against the backdrop of a Cossack uprising led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky aimed at reclaiming the control of the land from the hands of the Polish nobles. Historic events form a framework for an action- and character-driven plot, and fictional characters mingle with historic ones. The movie, conversely to the book, does not finish with the great face-off in the form of the Battle of Berestechko.
- Izabella Scorupco as Helena Kurcewiczówna
- Michał Żebrowski as Jan Skrzetuski
- Aleksandr Domogarov as Jurko Bohun
- Krzysztof Kowalewski as Jan Onufry Zagłoba
- Bohdan Stupka as Bohdan Khmelnytsky
- Andrzej Seweryn as Jeremi Wiśniowiecki
- Zbigniew Zamachowski as Michał Wołodyjowski
- Wiktor Zborowski as Longinus Podbipięta
- Daniel Olbrychski as Toğay bey (Tuhaj Bej)
- Marek Kondrat as John II Casimir
- Wojciech Malajkat as Rzędzian
- Ewa Wisniewska as Kurcewiczowa
- Ruslana Pysanka as Horpyna
- Gustaw Holoubek as Adam Kisiel
- Andrzej Kopiczynski as Zaćwilichowski
- Maciej Kozlowski as Maxym Kryvonis
- Adam Ferency as İslâm III Giray
- Gustaw Lutkiewicz as Yakiv Barabash
- Dmytro Myrhorodsky as Koshovy otaman
- Jerzy Bonczak as Daniel Czapliński
- Krzysztof Gosztyla as Jerzy Ossoliński
- Szymon Kobylinski as Mikołaj Ostroróg
The movie has been criticized for introducing some factual inaccuracies. One of the least accurate sections of the film is Hoffman's presentation of the first battle between the Poles and the Cossacks - the Battle of Zhovti Vody. The movie suggests that the Poles were quickly routed by Cossacks and the Polish elite cavalry (husaria) showed needless bravado in the face of unfavorable weather conditions. In reality, the Poles were not only greatly outnumbered, especially after they were deserted by all the Cossacks who had switched sides and joined Bohdan Khmelnytsky, but also their commander, Stefan Potocki, was only 24 years old; despite that the battle, though eventually lost by the Poles, lasted for nearly three weeks.
The original book is often deemed to be nationalistic and Ukrainophobic, especially in Ukraine. The movie on the other hand has been praised for its depiction of Ukraine and Ukrainians as "vivid rather than monochromatic; they are multi-dimensional, eliciting more than one feeling of, say, fascination or dislike". However, some Polish reviewers felt that the movie emphasized Cossacks' successes and positive traits while diminishing those of the Poles, in the spirit of political correctness.
The director was aware of the controversies and criticism. He was quoted as saying: Sienkiewicz's book is still considered anti-Ukrainian by some Ukrainians. I understand that problem, but when I was in Kiev at a conference of Ukrainian intellectuals ... many people with whom I spoke had read the novel closely and they quoted whole passages where Sienkiewicz criticized the Polish nobles as strongly as the Cossacks. For both sides it was clear that the result of this tragic conflict was the eventual demise of both the Commonwealth and the Sich. I am well aware that the film may agitate those in Ukraine who blame everything on the Poles, and in Poland those who blame all that was bad on the Ukrainians. My film will certainly not convince any radicals. ... My film finishes with the final words of Sienkiewicz's novel: "Hatred poisoned the hearts of two brother nations".
Although the original novel is the first part of the Trilogy, the film was the last part of Hoffman's version of the trilogy to be made, following The Deluge, which was filmed in 1974, and Colonel Wolodyjowski, which was filmed in 1969. This might have been due to political tension between Polish People's Republic and Ukrainian SSR, as filming a novel taking up a politically loaded subject of Polish-Ukrainian relations (another stalled film project was Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol) was deemed undesired by the Soviet Union.
- Kwota 104 607 388 zł przeliczona na dolary amerykańskie po średnioważonym rocznym kursie w 1999 roku – 1 USD = 3,9675 PLN stopklatka.pl
- Biuletyn stowarzyszenia filmowców polskich
- Podsumowanie 2004 roku w polskich kinach
- Battle of Yellow Waters (Żółte Wody), 1648
- Yuri Shevchuk. With Fire and Sword" depicts Kozak war against Poland The Ukrainian Weekly. May 23, 1999.
- Między "OGNIEM i MIECZEM", Wprost 7/1999 (846) (in Polish)
- Literatura a film. Adaptacje i ekranizacje dzieł lieratury.
- THE DAY WEEKLY DIGEST #41, 2 November 1999
- Na ekrany kin wschodzi "Taras Bulba" Władimira Bortki, Money.pl