Pharaoh (film)

1966 Polish film

Pharaoh (Polish: Faraon) is a 1966 Polish film directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz and adapted from the eponymous novel by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus. In 1967, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival. It sold more than 7 million tickets in Poland, becoming one of the highest-grossing Polish films of all time.



Jerzy Kawalerowicz, who had previously directed such films as Cellulose (1953), Under the Phrygian Star (1954), The Shade (1956), The Real End of the Great War (1957), Night Train (1959) and Mother Joan of the Angels (1961), turned in the 1960s to Bolesław Prus' novel Pharaoh because, he said, "There are brilliant things in it.... The drama of power in Pharaoh is incredibly topical and contemporary. The mechanics don't change all that much."

Kawalerowicz's co-author of the scenario, Tadeusz Konwicki, commented: "It's not a historical novel in the full sense of the word, it's above all a penetrating analysis of a system of power.... The story of Ramses XIII is a typical example of the actions of a young person who enters upon life with a faith and need for renewal. He does not yet know anything about higher reasons of state, he has no interest in the laws governing the complex apparatus of power. It seems to him that he is the person to change the existing order of things."


Pharaoh's production took three years, beginning in the fall of 1962 with the setting up of a studio in Łódź which did in-depth studies of the costumes and realia of life in ancient Egypt. Filming took place in Europe, Asia and Africa. Most of the indoor scenes of the pharaoh's palace, the temples and the Labyrinth were shot at the ... more

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