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February 29, 1980 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-02-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ry,

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

10 Friday, February 29, 1980

Jerzy Kosinski: Screenwriter and Survivor

Color

PASSPORT PHOTOS

By HERBERT G. LUFT

(Copyright IWO, JTA, Inc.)

JERZY KOSINSKI,

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author of a book and
screenplay to the current
Peter Sellers movie, "Being
There," tells us that he was
born in Lodz and was six
years old when the armed
might of Germany overran
Poland in 1939.
All but two members of

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his large family perished in man of cunning wit.
The Peter Sellers fellow
the Holocaust. Abandoned
in the occupied land, he has lived in complete isola-
wandered from village to tion and relies for informa-
village surviving only by tion and entertainment ex-
his wits. The shock effect of clusively on television.
the terror witnessed in his Chauncey is the opposite
early childhood muted the , from the individuals

boy for five years.
' Kosinski developed in his
In the aftermath of war, other novels where he dealt
he regained his voice and with complex human beings
self-reliance and worked
who looked inward and
himself through high school
struggled for their identity.
in Warsaw. Kosinski first
Chauncey, however, is the
revealed his traumatic ex- ultimate incomplete man, a
perience in his earliest shell without substance,
novel, "The Painted Bird," which makes the motion
on the surface the harrow- picture extremely visual.
ing struggle of a nameless
The utterances of the il-
boy.
literate, embarrassingly
During a recent interview
simple-minded fellow who
session of the Hollywood speaks in the gardening
Foreign Press, Kosinski
metaphor, are perceived by
was presented to us by the
the Washington society as a
publicity head of Lorimar, fresh kind of wisdom and
the company that produced
applied to economic and
"Being There" for United
political issues of the day.
Artists release.
Though Chauncey's mind
Watching the articulate cannot comprehend the
and self-assured author and
complexities of our nation's
listening to his sharply- capital, he is hailed as a
pointed remarks, one is
savior and a possible candi-
amazed knowing that he date for the highest office.
was foreign-born and self-
DAVID WARNER who
taught in the English lan- completed his part as
guage which he mastered Roman General Falco in the
after only two years in this epic "Masada" at Universal
country.
Studios after one month on
As to the essence of "Be- location in the desert of Is-
ing There," Jerzy told us rael, talked with this col-
that he deliberately created umnist during a screening
a character with a com- of his earlier-made British
pletely empty mind, a non- picture, remake of the
entity by the name of classic Hitchcock thriller,
Chance who happens to be a "The Thirty-Nine Steps."
gardener, mistaken by the
Warner loved his stay in
world as "Chauncey Gar- Israel, though it was rather
dener" and worshipped as a hot at Masada at 115 de-
grees. But the strain of
working under abnormal
conditions meant nothing
for the British performer
who admires the people of
the Holy Land and found in

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only an efficient cast and
crew but also devoted
friends.
He feels strongly that
"Masada" has a message for
our time and hopes that the
spirit of those who gave
their lives at the mountain
ledge 1,900 years ago will

live on forever.
Warner has been in Israel
three times. First he was
invited by the Jewish Na-
tional Fund in London after
a JNF charity performance
of "Hamlet," the second he
went with Gregory Peck for
a segment of the motion pic-
ture "The Omen."

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