Lech Majewski tells Jørn Rossing Jensen about his Forum entry Wojaczek:
"When I grew up in Poland, everybody was a poet you needed to be, in that grey reality, and so was I and I remember, when going to high school, I read the obituary of Wojaczek, a rebellious poet, who was only 26.
"I was really shocked, but also fascinated by this person. I read all his poetry and his fearlessness made a deep impact on me, it was in his life and in his poetry, and we were in an oppressed country.
"I had been in Rio de Janeiro to film Prisoner Of Rio in 1988. As I arrived in New York and learned about the death of Jean-Michel Basquiat, it all came back to me. He was a kind of blood brother to Wojaczek, and it became clear to me that his life should be chronicled.
"I wrote the first script for Basquiat and spent three years with the project, and it was three years of frustration while we tried to get it financed. I left it with Julian Schnabel and it was only due to his perseverance that it was eventually realised. Then I thought it was time to pay a film tribute to Wojaczek.
"I had returned to Europe, where I had started composing and directing operas, The Roe's Room will be in the Salzburg festival this year but the trail of freedom was still escaping me: Poland had been Americanised and there was no money for that kind of production.
"Finally, we pooled together minor funds, which allowed for only two hours of shooting the negative ratio was 3:1, against the usual 20:1. There was no money for publicity, so the film was released in obscurity on 1 November, 1999. The reception was amazing.
"One thing was the good reviews, the other was the fact that it must have hit something in the young generation. I have had loads of letters from youngsters who have seen the film nine or 10 times, and it is still number five on the charts.
"During the shooting we were visited by Wojaczek's daughter, now older than the poet when he died. She brought her little son, and when she told him that this was his grandfather, she started crying. It was as if raising spirits. I may have become an expert in bringing back spirits."