Kult ciała aka Rapsody of love (1930)

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Yesterday I had a chance to watch a Polish silent movie “Kult ciała” (Rapsody of love is the official English name) which for many years was lost and only a  few years ago it was found in Brussels. I’ve been waiting for so long to watch it! For some strange reason, it has never been broadcast on TV ever since. Maybe because the huge majority of Poles simply doesn’t care. Luckily, yesterday a festival of silent movies in Gdańsk has started and “Kult ciała” was shown there with live music, which was amazing. Of course, not a lot of people came… Which saddens me even more, because the event was advertised very well all over our Tri-city area, but apparently in almost 1 million population there’s only like 50 people who adore old silent movies.

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“Kult ciała” was directed by the Polish most famous director of the pre-war cinema – Michał Waszyński. In 1930 in America no one remembered about silent movies anymore, but Poland was of course a little bit behind time with all new technologies. What’s interesting is that some time later Waszyński made also the sound version of the story but this film has never been found after the war. This is the biggest drama of the Polish pre-war movie industry – the majority of films were completely destroyed or lost during WWII. That’s why it was a miracle when a few years ago one copy of “Kullt ciała” was found somewhere in Belgium. The plot is very simple: a sculptor Czesław is searching for a model for a naked sculpture of Venus. He accidentally bumps into Hanka (Danish actress Agnes Petersen) and falls in love with her. She starts to visit his place… But it turns out she is engaged to Czesław’s impresario. Will they be together or not…? Yes, that simple. Yet again, this film is amazing. There’s a lot of erotic scenes, almost pornographic for that time, especially for catholic Poland. Agnes Petersen shows her naked back or lies down in bed with Czesław on her, this is something that Polish pre-war cinema never saw before or even after.

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I was also happy to see Eugeniusz Bodo, who later became the biggest star of Polish film industry, playing an assistant of Czesław here.

The film was a Polish-Austrian co-production with international stars: Agnes Petersen from Denmark and Victor Varconi from Hungary, now completely forgotten by history. I tried to find some information about the beautiful Agnes, but sadly, there’s no data concerning her further life, even though she was quite well-known and played in many films. Now we don’t even know when she died.

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