A short excerpt from the booklet essay on Goodbye, See You Tomorrow by Michael Brooke.
In Stalin Ate My Homework (2010), UK comedian Alexei Sayle's uproarious memoir about growing up the son of unreconstructed Stalinists in 1950s and 60s Liverpool, he describes a brief and disastrous teenage flirtation with one of the few genuinely iconic stars to emerge from post-war Poland:
"[Zbigniew] Cybulski wore these really stylish tinted sunglasses all the time. I had read somewhere that they were his own – he had to wear them because he had fought in the Warsaw Uprising, the three-month-long insurrection against the Nazis, when the resistance used the sewers to move about in, so he couldn't now take bright light. Which, even if it wasn't true, was a brilliant excuse to wear shades after dark."
Unfortunately for Sayle, his obsession with Cybulski extended to dressing and behaving like him – or rather, his signature character, the would-be assassin Maciek Chelmicki in Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament, 1958):
"When Julie opened the door of their large semi-detached house she was more beautiful than I remembered, with the air of being a proper grown-up rather than the pretend one that I was. That she should look so lovely was not a good start to the evening, because unfortunately not only did I dress like a man who had spent three months in the Warsaw sewers but I had begun to act like one too. […]
The truth is that I was nervous and feeling terribly out of my depth. I wanted Julie to be my girlfriend but she seemed in such a different league - not just glamorous but metropolitan too. For the whole night I behaved abominably. I imagine that those nice young teenagers cannot have had a more excruciating evening in all their young lives."
If only Sayle had also seen Janusz Morgenstern's debut feature, who knows how he might have fared with the lovely Julie?
Because Goodbye, See You Tomorrow (Do widzenia, do jutra, 1960) features Cybulski himself, that icon of indefinable cool, playing someone as gawky and hesitant as Bill Forsyth's Gregory, watching helplessly as the noticeably younger but infinitely more sophisticated Frenchwoman Marguerite (Teresa Tuszyńska) is chatted-up by his so-called friends Jurek (Jacek Fedorowicz) and Romek (Roman Polański), whose knowledge of foreign languages is way ahead of his schoolboy French, and who can also dance a mean cha-cha-cha.
If watched without any prior knowledge of the social, cultural and historical background of late Fifties Poland, or its star and co-writer Cybulski's own life, the film might well come across as a charming
but lightweight romantic comedy, with more than a token nod to the French New Wave in both its themes and its frequent stylistic flourishes. Compared with its better known contemporaries from
the 'Polish Film School' period of the late 1950s, when Polish cinema first made a big international splash, it seems to have had a negligible impact on the English-speaking world aside from a couple of festival prizes in Canada and Australia. Indeed, it wasn't released in the UK until 1967, presumably as a posthumous tribute to Cybulski, who had died on January 8th after falling under the wheels of a train at Wrocław railway station. The critical response was limited and muted and it swiftly vanished: there's no record of a television screening, and this new DVD appears to be its first British revival since then.
But in Poland, the film is much more highly regarded – one critic recently described it as his national cinema's best-kept secret. It offers a fascinating alternative perspective on Cybulski, who had recently become the country's first genuine international star (and to this day he remains the only really iconic one) thanks to the performance that made such an impression on Alexei Sayle – in many ways, Jacek, Cybulski's character here, is the yin to Chelmicki's yang. It's the first major film made in post-war Poland to feature a foreign woman (specifically a Western European woman) as one of the leads, it was one of the first Polish films to explicitly allude to the division between East and West, and it can
also be fairly described as the first authentic post-war Polish youth film – the second being Andrzej Wajda's Innocent Sorcerers (Niewinni czarodzieje, 1960).
Michael Brooke's complete essay, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the DVD of Goodbye, See You Tomorrow.
A short excerpt from the booklet
Bright Light Film Journal by Gordon Thomas
Chicago Sun-Times by Michał Oleszczyk
Sight & Sound by Geoffrey Macnab
MovieMail by Michael Brooke
Arts Desk by Tom Birchenough
Electric Sheep by Alison Frank
E-Film Blog by Michael Ewins:
Goodbye, See You Tomorrow
The Word by Rob Young
Total Film by Andrew Lowry
Cinemas Online by Dave Lancaster
Barry Forshaw’s DVD Choice
DVD Beaver by Gary W Tooze
Cine Outsider by Michael Ewins
Mondo Digital by Nathaniel Thompson
The Observer by Philip French
Digital Fix by Clydefro Jones
Strictly Film School
Strictly Film School
Goodbye, See You Tomorrow
Polish Film Club
(i) The official Andrzej Wajda website
(ii) Interview with Wajda at Sight & Sound
(iii) Kawalerowicz obituary from The Independent
(iv) Andrzej Munk at Kinoblog
(v) Krzysztof Komeda - Genius of Jazz
(vi) Kinoteka 10th Polish Film Festival
(vii) Polish Cultural Institute
(viii) Wajda School
(vix) Polish Film Institute
(x) Alexei Sayle: Why I Love Polish Cinema
Poland, 1957 / 1959 / 1960
Length / Main features:
Length / Special features:
Sound: Original mono (restored)
Black and White
Original aspect ratios: 1.56:1 / 1.66:1 - 16.9 anamorphic / 1.33:1 full frame
Subtitles: English (On/Off)
PAL DVD9 x 4
Release Date:12th Mar 2012 Second Run DVD 064