Thank you for following this series of mini interviews with people who have led extraordinary lives.
This short film marks a pause, for now.
In production terms, it is the most home-made. Nevertheless, for me, it is possibly the most profoundly moving.
It is Marzena’s story.
Marzena has travelled with me for the past few months. She has constantly, and consistently, documented with her camera, the often crazy launch of our company. Along the way she watched me as I edited the Extraordinary Lives interviews. It was only after a few weeks, when we knew each other a bit better, that I learned of her own extraordinary story.
Sometimes it is the people right by your side who turn out to be the most remarkable.
Marzena grew up in Poland, in the early ‘80s. Martial law enforcement, food rationing and lines in front of bakeries at 4am were the norm. Her family and community relied on the shipments of clothes that came from the USA. They obeyed the 8pm curfews, the monitoring of telephone calls and mail, and submitted to the need to have a pass to leave or enter different towns, which were always patrolled by armed soldiers at the city limits. Hunger strikes were regular occurrences. People often were kidnapped, persecuted or simply vanished. While we, such close neighbors – either geographically, or culturally – slept soundly in our beds, wondering what we would wear the next day.
Marzena’s father decided they needed to escape this life.
One Christmas Eve, with very little warning – and certainly no farewell to their grandmother – Marzena, with her sisters and mother, was bundled into a car. Hearts pounding, they left Poland on the pretext of a visit to relatives in Germany for Christmas day.
They fled instead to an intern camp where they spent the following month waiting for political asylum.
Marzena calmly explained to me, as part of this narrative, that it was in this camp that her blonde-haired, blue-eyed mother was abused.
Marzena continued her story. My mind still faltered over the details….
Her family eventually arrived in Canada, a country where they knew no one and did not speak the language. Marzena was put to work as a model. Here, finally, she began to make an income upon which the family could survive.
Marzena is now an extraordinary documentary maker. She knows how to focus her camera… she captures each essential incident because she knows how they shape our future and our identity… and that that is where our stories lie.
We make of life what we will.
Thank you, Marzena.