John Paul II Attends Premiere of Polish "Quo Vadis?"

Most Expensive Film in Country´s History

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 30, 2001 ( The world premiere of the Polish film version of «Quo Vadis?» had a fitting attendee: John Paul II.

The latest film adaptation of the epic tale of faith, love and history opened today to an audience of 6,000 gathered at the Vatican, including more than 1,000 guests from Poland.

The film is based on the best seller by Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) that won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, the film cost $18 million to make — a record for Polish cinema.

Filmed in Tunisia, Poland, France and Italy, it relates the story of a Roman general and his love for a Christian slave girl. The general´s love met with cruel opposition from the emperor, but eventually conquered, as did faith in the Gospel.

Father Zbigniew Kiernikowski, rector of the Polish Pontifical Institute of Rome, said that director Kawalerowicz´s adaptation of the film «pays particular attention to the dialogues, the human content, as well as the rather philosophical sense of the story.»

«A characteristic that the director considers very important with the passing centuries and millenniums, is the changes in culture through the Christian faith,» the priest added. «And, compared to previous films that have been made based on ´Quo Vadis?´ he insists more on showing the more attractive and joyful aspects» of the faith.

Mervyn Leroy´s 1951 version of «Quo Vadis?» starred Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov and Leo Genn.

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