Czesław Miłosz was a Polish poet, writer and diplomat. His World War II-era sequence The World is a collection of twenty “naïve” poems. Following the war, he served as Polish cultural attaché in Paris and Washington, D.C., and then in 1951 defected to the West. His nonfiction book The Captive Mind (1953) became a classic of anti-Stalinism. From 1961 to 1998 he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, he divided his time between Berkeley, California, and Kraków, Poland.
The Year of 2011, the Year of Czesław Miłosz as announced by the Polish Parliament, is a unique opportunity to gain a fresh, new perspective on this remarkable figure, incomparable with anyone in the history of Polish literature with regard to his colorful biography and great achievements, in an attempt to present his portrait.
Miłosz documentary film shows the poet as a full-blooded character, a man whose life is like a novel where art sits next to political passion, sensuality next to mysticism. It exposes his obsessions and fears which pushed him into work and discipline throughout his long life, in which he, like a cyclist, had to press on the pedals in order to maintain balance, as he said in one of the interviews. The film depicts a boy whose earliest memories are marked with profound fear, who, as an adolescent, will experience great religious dramas and passionate love leading him to a suicidal attempt and who, as a university student, will transform into a radical left-wing tribune to become a brave dissident soon after. It shows a man who will become involved in a sophisticated game with the communist authorities after 1945 but later will find the courage to break off and stay in the West, despite the conviction that this is yet another suicidal attempt for him. A man who will bear the hate campaign incited against him on both sides of the Iron Curtain, many years of being ignored and so extremely lonely that he will want to write letters to himself to finally find something in his letter box. And who will become a sage, a master for generations of readers across the world. Miłosz is a portrait of the man who has been described as one who visited all hells of the 21st century.
59 minutes/English subtitles