The official press conference for Lech Majewski’s latest feature Dolina Bogów (Valley of the Gods), a film co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, was held on May 30 at the Museum of Silesia in Katowice. The film’s ensemble cast includes John Malkovich and Josh Hartnett.

The Valley of the Gods press conference was moderated by Anita Skwara. Taking part in the conference was director Lech Majewski and actors Josh Hartnett, Berenice Marlohe, John Malkovich, and Keir Dullea. Conference guests were welcomed by museum director Alicja Knast. “It brings us great pride that some of the photography for the latest film by Lech Majewski, a great friend of our institution, will be done at this museum. We eagerly await the outcome. I am certain that it will be fantastic,” said Alicja Knast.

“My bond with Katowice is very strong”

“I am happy to be here in my hometown. My bond with Katowice is very strong. I was born here; this city has shaped me. It is the place that is closest to my heart. I make my films here whenever I can. My previous film Onirica was shot entirely in Katowice. The Mill and the Cross had a fantastic cast and I was happy to welcome them to this city. I am very happy to know that the Museum of Silesia has graciously allowed us to use their interiors. It is a beautiful venue and I would like to thank the director of the museum for her cooperation,” said Lech Majewski at the press conference. “I am glad to have been able to get such a magnificent group of thespians on board for this project. It is my dream cast. When I was writing this story, I did not expect to have such a wonderful crew. We have the best cameras, the best lenses. And I get to film in my hometown,” he added.

“On behalf of the filmmakers and producers, I would like to thank everyone involved in financing this event. Those who have contributed to the making of this film include the Polish Film Institute, the City of Katowice, Silesia Film, and Odra Film,” said Anita Skwara.

The actors on their collaboration with Lech Majewski

“I was persuaded to work with Lech Majewski after having seen The Mill and the Cross. It was an extraordinary experience, unlike any other cinematic adventure. I immediately wanted to work with the genius who made that film,” said Keir Dullea, the actor known for his performance in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, who celebrated his 80th birthday in Katowice.

“It was very similar in my case. A few years ago, a friend of mine who is a distributor in Poland gave me a DVD of The Mill and the Cross. When I received the offer to work on Valley of the Gods, I was very happy to accept,” said John Malkovich, who will play the role of the world’s richest man Wes Tauros.

Berenice Marlohe, known for her performance in Skyfall, said that she values Lech Majewski’s films for their unusual combination of artistry and creativity. Having read the screenplay for Majewski’s latest work, Marlohe decided it was destiny that allowed her to be involved in such a unique and deep experience.
“I met Lech in Los Angeles and we had a great chat. It turned out that we are like-minded on many levels. On another occasion, we discussed Fellini’s 8 1/2 and it turned out that Lech had written a book about him. That’s when I realised that our collaboration might not only be an interesting experience, but also a deeply human one,” said Josh Hartnett, who will play the role of writer John Ecas in Valley of the Gods.

A film co-financed by the Polish Film Institute

At the press conference, the filmmakers outlined the story narrative. Dolina Bogów (Valley of the Gods) will be “a fairy-tale for adults […]. The first plot line is the ‘materialisation’ of an ancient Navajo legend. We witness an extraordinary story that could only come to life in the myths and legends of Indian tribes or in our movie. The second plot is the story of Wes Tauros, the richest man in the world. Having suffered a personal tragedy in the loss of his wife and daughter, Tauros seeks oblivion by leading an eccentric lifestyle. The third plot line is the story of the narrator, writer John Ecas, whose unbridled imagination tends to ‘improve’ on reality, nudging it towards the fantasy world. Ecas writes about the life of Wes Tauros and accepts an invitation to his residence. His initial curiosity about this eccentric old rich man quickly turns into a desire to return to his own world. All these elements are intertwined, only to come together in a single story in the end.”

Dolina Bogów (Valley of the Gods) is produced by the Angelus Silesius Association, with Domino Film acting as executive producer. Principal photography will take place in Wrocław, in Katowice, and in the United States. The film is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun