We talk to Jakub Piątek about his new documentary presented at the 54th Krakow Film Festival – “One Man Show”.

Dawid Myśliwiec: It’s hard to think about becoming an actor after watching your film. Would you like to be one?

Jakub Piątek: No! It’s definitely not my cup of tea. I have no need to be in the spotlight, I feel comfortable on the other side of the camera. Hopefully, our film won’t be only a bugbear for those parents who’d like to see their children studying management or law.

Why Marcin Sitek?

We are a bit stuck with each other. Marcin came to me with an idea for a documentary in which he would play the role of initiator – central character. That idea didn’t really touched my heart, but the thing that worked was a kind of suicidal flight for Marcin and for me. What’s more he already had a producer chosen!

Besides, I had a feeling that Marcin is a protagonist focusing a few problems that my friends, me and probably also an audience have to deal with.

How did Marcin bear working on the film? Many times he admits in it to be in a difficult life situation.

It was a long process. After this time we know each other very well. The actor got used to documentary. Moreover, this process was also therapeutic for the protagonist. We could afford more, because Marcin is an actor, not a civilian person.

Did you want to help Marcin?

By “help” you mean: fame, money and happiness? It’s completely out of my reach. That kind of change or help is impossible in filmmaking – maybe it’s possible in a talent show, but we weren’t interested in doing one. It’s not 50-minute-long actor’s demo, but a film about the human being.

Actually, I meant his talent, personality. You can’t guarantee him a great role in some big production, but maybe you showed him as an interesting artist…

The film is a story told by him and about him. I’m sure this is the true portrayal of Marcin as an actor and as a human at this moment of his life. Maybe it’ll attract somebody’s attention, maybe not – it wasn’t the main aim. And there’s still a question if that hypothetical proposition would satisfy our protagonist…

Sometimes the camerawork reminds Orson Welles’ technique in “Citizen Kane” – low angle shots, upwards from below to show greatness of your protagonist. Is this your way to tell that everyone can be “someone”?

I’m not sure if this sentence from the film saying “everything is possible if you want it enough” is true. I feel that it’s been suggested. In commercial, television, book? Nowadays our lives are determined by the propaganda of success – we want much more and much quicker than our parents and grandparents. But there are only a few leading roles to cast – the question is if one can feel fulfilled as a supernumerary.

I was waiting for a note „Marcin is still working as an actor. He played a role in a film XYZ, but he works seasonally in Norway, etc.” You didn’t want to inform the audience about an influence of the film on Marcin’s life?

Filmmaking didn’t have an effect on reality – if something is supposed to change, it will change now. Marcin didn’t get a role in any important film. I don’t even know what kind of film would it be. I found it interesting to tell a story about life in a loop – the end is like not-sweet cake, but it tastes different than at the very beginning.

In your debut film you portrayed prisoner’s mother. This time you went deeply into Marcin’s private life. Aren’t your protagonists afraid of that sharing privacy, a sort of exhibitionism?

Janina and Marcin are completely different people. Filmmaking is always a long process, we explore the boundaries together. Besides, it works both ways – they’re also close to me and cross my private area.
Anyway, I don’t think it’s exhibitionism. They allow us to photograph their lives because they find it meaningful. Maybe their story will touch or help someone. For Marcin it was also a very courageous step. He knows how all the filmmaking mechanisms work. Some of his actor colleagues were tapping on the forehead, the others were laughing about us and him, unable to understand why on earth we were more attracted to the backdrop than the spectacle. Probably for Marcin this role in a documentary about himself is, so far, the biggest achievement.

Is it sad or contrary?

Sad and contrary. Bittersweet. That is how it should taste.

Interview by Dawid Myśliwiec