reż. Agnieszka Holland, 1981

The film is a screen adaptation of Andrew Strug’s novel from 1910 “Dzieje jednego pocisku” (“The Story of One Bullet”). Made during an exceptionally difficult period in Polish history – after the events at the Gdańsk shipyard, in the face of the impending martial law – it tells the story of the collapse of another revolution, that of 1905 in the lands of the Russian partition. The immediate impetus for the film was the events that took place in 1968 in Czechoslovakia. The director then witnessed the collapse of the Prague Spring and the growing powerlessness in society.

Narratively complicated, composed of many plots and lacking leading characters, Strug’s novel was not the easiest material to translate into film. Simplifying the elaborate narrative at the script stage definitely worked out well for the adaptation.

In Holland’s film we see a whole range of full-blooded, convincing characters who pay a varying price for their commitment. However, the director does not glorify the revolutionaries, nor does she treat them in a sentimental way, on the contrary – their actions, played out in an atmosphere of a certain madness, the title ‘fever’, are often marked by ruthlessness and brutality, and are ultimately doomed to failure anyway. The gallery of main characters opens with Leon (Olgierd Łukaszewicz), a modern leader acting on behalf of PPS [Polish Socialist Party], a cool strategist who will sacrifice the lives of his subordinates in the name of an idea without batting an eyelid. Kama (Barbara Grabowska), a would-be murderer is in love with Leon. She cannot mentally handle her role and descends into madness. Other victims of the revolution are the straightforward Wojtek (Adam Ferency), whose utopian proletarian values clash with brutal reality, and the unruliest among them, disregarding anyone’s authority – the anarchist Gryziak (Bogusław Linda). And all these characters are connected by one item – a bomb hand-made for the organization’s use, which is handed from hand to hand, with the aim of assassinating the tsarist government.

The premiere of this overtly anti-Russian film was able to take place on September 4, 1981 mainly because the censors went on strike at the time. No cuts were ordered during the pre-release screening. Lodz pretends to be Warsaw from the early 20th century several times in the film.

Read more about the film:



Roosvelta Street

Just before the planned assassination attempt on the governor, an elegantly dressed Leon gets into the carriage. He gives orders to the steward, who is also a clandestine PPS member, to ride up to the exit the moment he hears the explosion. The men are joined by Kama. She is the one to carry out the assassination. Everyone is aware that the girl will not survive the explosion. Leon, however, has no qualms about entrusting her with this suicidal mission. However, the governor does not arrive, and Kama, unable to bear the burden of the situation, suffers a nervous breakdown.


Ramisch Factory, 138/140 Piotrkowska Street (today Off Piotrkowska)

Arriving in Warsaw, Wojtek Kiełza (Adam Ferency) is another bullet confidant. He strenuously seeks contact with the labour party. He goes to the factory for this purpose where he distributes loaves of bread among an exuberant crowd of workers. He succumbs to euphoria and loudly sings a revolutionary song. When he returns to the same place already after the defeat of the revolution, distrustful men take him for a spy. Wojtek is attacked by them, but manages to escape. Confused, he stumbles into a pub, where, to his misfortune, he meets a provocateur, Wartki (Paweł Nowisz). He promises to give him a contact data to activists in the labour movement.


Pastor's Mill

In the film adaptation of Andrew Strug’s novel, the working-class district appears twice. The first time is when Wojtek (Adam Ferency), who is looking for contact with the labour party, accompanied by two tsarist spies – Wartki and Czarny (Paweł Nowisz, Krzysztof Zaleski), travels in a horse-drawn carriage along Księży Młyn Street to reach the party headquarters. In fact, the provocateurs take him straight to the police station, which was arranged in an apartment building at 68 Narutowicza Street.

The second time we can see the same route is in a scene in which the unruly anarchist Gryziak (Bogusław Linda) leads Wartki holding him at gunpoint to detonate a bomb at the aforementioned police station. However, the missile turns out to be a dud.


[caption id="attachment_2029" align="alignleft" width="975"] "The Fever", dir. Agnieszka Holland, © WFDiF (former Kadr Film Studio)[/caption]

See what films have been shot in Łódź: