Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 18, 2002
'Quo Vadis' helps fund Catholic radio
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Billed as the biggest event in Polish film since the collapse of communism, the $18-million movie Quo Vadis by Polish director Jerzy Kawalerowicz will be playing at Garneau Theatre, 8712-109 St., Feb. 15-21.
Quo Vadis, set during the reign of mad emperor Nero and the rise of the Christian underground, is a new lavish Roman-set epic from the world-famous novel by Poland's epic novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz.
In 1905 Sienkiewicz won the Nobel Prize for literature for Quo Vadis, a story about the love between a Roman citizen and a Christian slave during a time when the young Church was suffering persecution.
Dubbed a "great epic story about power conquered by faith, about faith that brought love, about love that changed Rome," the film was shot in Tunisia, France, Rome and Poland.
The Edmonton screenings of Quo Vadis are sponsored by the Toronto-based Catholic Radio-KSM Inc. and the Polish Catholic parishes of Edmonton. Proceeds from the screening will help establish an FM Catholic radio in Canada with 24-hour coverage as well as help cover the expenses for broadcasting World Youth Day events in Toronto in July.
Though the best known Quo Vadis is the 1951 Hollywood version, with Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr, this film surpasses it in every way, "save perhaps the MGM film's spectacular burning of Rome and young Peter Ustinov's amazing performance as Nero," says Chicago Tribune movie critic Michael Wilmington.
Against sumptuous imperial Roman settings, the wily writer-tastemaker Petronious (Boguslaw Linda) uses his power over nutty Nero (Michal Bajor) to try to save Roman soldier-hero Marcus Vinicius (Pawel Delag) after he falls in love with Christian beauty Ligia (Magdalena Mielcarz).
Critic Wilmington says director Jerzy Kawalerowicz shows intelligence, sophistication and sheer craft in mounting this saga: balancing intimacy with epic bravado.
Linda, a Polish action superstar, dominates the movie as the bitter, sardonic Petronious. The Coliseum Christian-to-the lions scenes are jaw-dropping horrific.
The world premiere of Quo Vadis was shown last August at the Vatican before Pope John Paul, who is said to have given it a thumbs up.
Quo Vadis, with English subtitles, will be shown at the Garneau Feb. 15-21 at 7 p.m. An additional screening will be held Feb. 16 at 3 p.m.