Homeless men from the Brother Albert Shelter are actors in a movie now being shot in Wroclaw.
Dariusz Dobrowolski, the director and the Shelter’s manager, is in charge of this production entitled, “Skopani” (“Kicked”). The title of the movie refers to a true occurrence, which happened in November 2006 in Wroclaw.
Two men from the shelter were badly kicked and beaten by a group of young delinquents. One victim died, the other has never fully recovered from the injuries.
The Wroclaw court is trying the attackers at the moment. The event so disturbed Dobrowolski that he created a movie on the issue of homelessness.
“The plot of the film will be loosely based on the real events,” he told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza Wroclaw. “But accuracy is not essential where one wishes to show emotions. And this is what I want.”
The film is intended to show the assailants’ sense of impunity.
“They knew nobody would stand up for a homeless person,” said Dobrowolski.
This is another reason for the choice of the title.
“Not only were the two men physically kicked, one of them was beaten to death. But all homeless people are ?kicked’ in a figurative sense: kicked by life, assaulted by fate to the point of losing motivation to carry on. One of the people under my care has recently told me that a homeless person is somebody put away on a shelf labeled ?finished.’ I will not accept this. That’s why I am making this film,” added the film’s director.
Through his movie, Dobrowolski wishes to demonstrate that homelessness is nobody’s choice. The picture aims at changing the common opinion of this phenomenon and the way the public perceives homeless people.
“People who don’t have homes are commonly treated as a fourth category,” Dobrowolski told Gazeta Wyborcza Wroclaw. “They are a worse kind, and for that, they themselves are to blame. This is a stereotype we wish to fight.”
The main protagonists of the film ? Andrzej and Stefan ? are played by amateur actors ? real life friends of the true Andrzej and Stefan from Dobrowolski’s shelter on which the movie is based.
“I’ve been growing hair and a beard for four months for this occasion. I’m planning on shaving right after the shooting finishes,” one of them, Leszek Herliczka, told the Internet site NaszeMiasto.pl. The other actor, Wieslaw Pietrzak, has put off his teeth replacement treatment so that he will look more believable on screen.
The plot presents one day out of the life of two homeless men, culminating in the attack scene. No part of the production process is being sponsored by anybody.
“It’s just me and my co-workers,” Dobrowolski told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “Nobody will earn a single zloty. It’s all about friendly teamwork.”
Dobrowolski has already produced a movie with the participation of the homeless. His “Sie masz Wiktor” (“Hi Wiktor”) was presented during the 32nd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia in September 2007. The manager’s cinematographic endeavors have proven to have beneficial effects on the Shelter’s homeless inhabitants.
“At first I was afraid starring in a movie would be too powerful of an experience for them and that they might return to alcohol abuse, which is their most common problem. But on starting the work on “Sie masz Wiktor” I consulted our therapist and we both agreed that in fact the film might turn out to be therapeutically valuable,” Dobrowolski told Gazeta Wyborcza Wroclaw.
The shooting is at Browar Mieszczanski in Wroclaw, where the film’s premiere will also going to take place.
The first screening is planned to happen this autumn.