2001-2010DocumentaryExperimentalFranceLech Kowalski

Lech Kowalski – On Hitler’s Highway (2002)


A very personal journey, almost like a diary, with hand held camera Kowalski travels along the oldest highway in Polan, built by Hitler. While travelling along the highway Kowalski meets the people that now ply their trade their. The
the director uses his camera to cut a swath through Hitler’s legacy from a new perspective.

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Director´s statement
While making On Hitler’s Highway I asked myself where do I belong in this story? Do I need to explain more than what is on the screen? How do I deal with the question of the story’s context? How can I make this story a visceral experience outside the culture it was filmed in? Every answer to these questions pointed to me. I am the solution. It is my responsibility to bridge gaps and to solve these problems. I must transcend cultural barriers by using the language of film. The fiction about documentaries is that they are real. The only thing real about a documentary is the filming itself. After that it is all fiction. If understood, this concept can be very liberating for the filmmaker. An excerpt from my published diaries written while shooting:

“The film, it seems depends on two dynamics. One is the forward momentum of traveling where the discovery of new things, new places, new people and the odd things in life keep the story intriguing. The second is information about history, the country and peoples’ lives. The style of the film is what I bring to the story. These interweave to hopefully create an interesting film. I also hope that all of these things together will add up to something beyond the film. I keep looking at scenes from the point of view of the audience. I personally am removing myself from the scene as I film it. I react purely instinctively; meaning that when a situation presents itself I quickly analyze what is taking place and how to film it. This happens very quickly in my mind and then I try to shoot in a consistent style and find some little unusual aspect in what is going on and a way to film it. However, the forward momentum of the story is not natural. I need to create this illusion.” (taken from YIDFF) link



Language:English, Polish
Subtitles:English hardcoded

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