Jerzy Stuhr - Being an artist is to serve others
Posted by JP2Love editors
Jerzy Oskar Stuhr - Polish film and theater actor and director. His roles include Filip Mosz in the 'Camera Buff', Lutek Danielak in 'Top Dog', Maks in 'Sexmission' as well as the papal spokesman in Nanni Moretti's 'Habemus papam', which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival. He is considered as one of the best actors of the Polish cinema of moral anxiety and is also a critically acclaimed theatrical actor.
Are authors appreciated in our country and is this an easy job?
Jerzy Stuhr: Authors... no, you cannot say that they are appreciated. This path always means a lot of effort, exertion, and it has nothing to do with popularity. Can you say that Mr. Zagajewski, an outstanding poet, is really appreciated if he publishes five thousand copies of his book? You want to make a film because it is very important to you, but only few moviegoers come to see it, or you cannot even collect enough money for the production - do you feel appreciated then? I haven’t been able to make a film for the last four years - a film torn out of me, a film about my life. Nobody is interested; television doesn’t even want to talk with me. It will never be appreciated, although that effort is sometimes reciprocated; some evenings at the theatre are a real reward to me. Nonetheless, I do not complain at all. I think that a real author will create no matter what obstacles he might face. He or she doesn’t care about critical acclaim; the very urge to create is the only driving force here. A true author has to live for the audience, communicate with people. It is hard for me to judge in such terms because I would do it anyway.
Polish directors have already tried to make a couple of films about John Paul II. Were these attempts successful?
Stuhr: I graduated from Polish studies and was expected to read a lot of hagiographic works, especially medieval literature, during the first year of my studies. Since then I have been prejudiced against hagiography and pictures about the Pope often tend to fall into the niche of sanctifying films. I could not, for instance, tell such a glorifying, uncritical story – I would rather talk about the Spirit that could be shown. I’ve already talked about this a little; I should quote a letter that the Pope sent to us, artists. Creating is a duty. If God offered you a gift that others don’t have - I don’t call it talent - a gift, an endowment, something that distinguishes you, it is your duty to share it. You can’t simply say ‘no, thanks, I’m not doing anything’. You have to, because it is an obligation, a service! It is a kind of service for other people; at least I see it this way. Once I played in a film that managed to touch the Spirit and it wasn’t about the Pope himself. It was Mr. Zanussi’s film ‘From a far country’. Actually, the Pope doesn’t appear there - it’s a story about people who work in his Spirit. I think that’s more interesting than projects with an actor dressed up in a white gown.
I’m asking because of ‘Habemus papam’, in which you play the role of a Vatican spokesman.
Stuhr: ‘Habemus papam’ is, first of all, about humanity. About burden, responsibility and the ability to confess openly that we cannot rise to the challenge. I wish Poles could do it...I wanted to show this film in the Polish Parliament, but without much success so far.
The film approaches some sacred things with a bit of tongue in cheek. Do you believe that such distance is achievable for Poles?
Stuhr: The ability to speak with humour about serious matters is the great tradition of Italian cinema. It’s incredible that they have such attitude towards the faith. They can joke about it but it doesn’t mean that they lose faith. In Poland it’s treated as a blasphemy. I had to learn it for many years in Italy by living, working, meeting new people and discovering the spirit of the great master Fellini. ‘Habemus papam’ approaches the matter with humour because it’s Italian.
Are Poles capable of a similar warm sense of humour?
Stuhr: Yes, they are. But our sense of humour is tinted with mischievous grotesque. Gombrowicz, Witkacy, and earlier satire authors of the Enlightenment - Krasicki, Jezierski, are our tradition. We could even look back on Rej. Yes, we have tradition, but you can’t joke about church, not about religious matters because you risk being called a blasphemer.
In this matter we definitely think in strict terms
Stuhr: This is our flaw; some kind of the Polish complex that we can’t fight, although Gombrowicz tried really hard. I had to learn it. I remember the beginning of the screening of my ‘Love Stories’ during the Venice Film Festival. I was sitting with other authors in the first row on a balcony. In the film I play a priest in a cassock. One lady behind me who didn’t know I was there because she had arrived late says to her friend: ‘Jesus, there you go again - Poles talking about their tedious Catholicism’. But in the next scene she sees that the priest has a child who visits him and she starts to watch attentively. In the end, when she sees that I’m the author, she comes to me and gives me a kiss because I presented a representative of the Church in a slightly different light. ‘Habemus papam’ is in a similar vein. I met Nanni Moretti, the director, when he was distributing my ‘Love Stories’ in Rome. This film was shown in his cinema for over a month. It doesn’t have to be a film about John Paul II to save the Spirit. I believe that our Pope, whom I had a great honour to meet personally, would love this sense of humor, because he was a witty person.
Karol Wojtyła was an actor as a young man. It gave him a great deal of charisma and the ability to communicate with the faithful. If it were possible, in which play would you like to act together with the Pope?
Stuhr: It’s hard to choose one title. It should be a play where great oratorical skills and the beauty of the language that our Pope mastered so well, could be shown. The theatre formation, which he was part of, consisted of the masters of the word. Ms. Danuta Michałowska, his closest friend, taught me poems in the theatre school. That’s the generation of the Rhapsodic Theatre and the love for Polish speech. I would pick a play where we could demonstrate the beauty of Polish language. Sometimes I joke that the language is the only thing that Poles have ever done well. It is marvelous and so precise that I wonder how it was possible that with our sloppiness we managed to create such a beautiful language. And I would probably meet on this ground with the Pope.
In a place, where the word plays the main part.
Stuhr: The word and feelings that come with it. This is how I saw the Rhapsodic Theatre. I was lucky to see Mieczysław Kotlarczyk’s shows as a middle school student. Bishop Wojtyła wasn’t acting anymore back then, but his friends were.
Could you tell me about your meeting with the Pope?
Stuhr: There were two meetings; one in 1981, the other two years later. The first one was a part of the visit in the Old Theater. The Pope received us as friends from Cracow during an individual audience after all his duties. Each of us, of course, wanted to tell him something, and I had a very important reason to do so. Ms. Michałowska, my professor and later my rector at school, organized the first, almost semi-official Days of Christian Culture in Cracow. I remember our performance in St. Mary's Church, in front of Wit Stwosz's altar. She had the typescripts of the yet unpublished poems of Karol Wojtyla given by the author himself. There was the eponymous poem from the volume 'Thinking: Fatherland' - in fact it was poetical prose. And she gave me this poem to declaim. The text could not be checked or verified anywhere because it hadn't been published yet. I remember me saying "Fatherland - when I think - then I distinguish and root myself'. It was recorded and sent to Vatican so it was sure that the Pope would listen to it. That was the very first declamation of his new poems. After my performance there was complete silence. Later, I was in Rome on some occasion and I noticed the 'Pensando Patria' by Karol Wojtyła on a shelf in a bookshop. And I thought: 'They have already translated the volume into Italian so the poem also must be there.' I bought it at once, I read and I shivered as I saw that it was not 'I distinguish and root myself' but 'I express myself'. Just a typo but what a difference in the meaning! One thing is: 'I distinguish' - these are the words of a nationalist; the other is 'I express myself' - these are the words of a Pole speaking of his fatherland. And then this conclusion came to me 'God, I'm finished; such a mistake is inexcusable for a professional actor. There's no point in explaining it was a typo...’ And during this visit to Vatican, I thought to myself that I had the only chance to somehow tell the Pope about the error. So I came close to him and started talking: 'Holy Father, I just wanted to apologize for the mistake in the poem 'Thinking: Fatherland" because I said 'I distinguish', not 'I express'. At these words, he smiled - I even have got a picture of both of us laughing - and said: "Mistakes how many times does an actor make them on the stage...’ The visit was going on, we were talking, there was Andrzej Wajda and other big names among us - to put it short: all luminaries of our Theater. We were about to leave when the Pope gave me a meaningful look (all of us were standing in a circle), and he said: 'You've got an opportunity to correct the mistake. Could I listen to this poem once more?' And that was the worst performance in my whole life - the text was long (what is more: not revised) plus this pressure. On one hand - you perform in front of the Holy Father and in those times. To make things worse, you act in front of the author. Besides, you are among your friends who are in the know. And you just have to talk. I decided to start talking in a very quiet voice "Fatherland – when I think - then I express and root myself/ My heart tells me so..' and I carried on this way from one line to another, everything went completely quiet, everybody was listening. And I had this terrible feeling that I wouldn't make it, my legs were shaking and there was nothing to lean on.
So I finished some paragraph and said: 'Holy Father, I won't speak anymore because my strong emotions deprive me of a professional approach to the text'. And as a reaction to my words, he hugged me and said 'I understand, as an actor I do understand.' And that was our first meeting. Of course, when we left, my friends started to mock me, saying 'If you had just said the poem to the very end, it would be just some actor who recited the poem in front of the Pope, but this actor couldn’t finish because of his strong emotions! Yes, that will be remembered for a long time!’. Of course the next day there was this account in 'Osservatore Romano'. That was the first meeting, whereas the second one... When I was the rector of the drama school the wartime correspondence between Mieczysław Kotlarczyk and Karol Wojtyła, who was just a boy then, was published. We considered it our duty. I decided, and I don't know why, to have one copy leather bound. Suddenly, in January, the secretary came and said that there was a call from Vatican:
-Good morning, this is Dziwisz speaking.
-Good morning, Father Stanislaw.
-I heard that you published a book, Wojtyla's letters to Kotlarczyk.
-Yes, that's right.
-And wouldn't you like to hand a copy for the Pope?
-Naturally, but when would it be possible?
-Please wait on Sunday at 6 a.m. at the Bronze Gate.
And it was Wednesday, or Tuesday! So together with Tadeusz Malak, who was not only a teacher, but also a co-editor of the correspondence, and an actor playing all the Wojtyła's parts in the Rhapsodic Theater when the latter left the theater and entered the seminar. It was Malak, so young then, who played his parts. On Saturday, Malak and I went to Rome. I knew Rome so it wasn't hard for me to choose the right hotel and find myself in that place. The next day, at 6 a.m. we show up at the Bronze Gate. First, we participate in a mass. Dziwisz, who was only a priest then, says: 'Dear rector, may I ask you to read the Word of God?' 'Oh, no', I think, in front of the Pope again…'. In the end, I read the Gospel in a private chapel. There are 15 people altogether - some girls from Belarus, a couple of priests from Poland, some Professor from a US university... and us. After the service we give the book, we have a small talk and we are on the verge of leaving when Dziwisz says: 'How about a dinner with the Pope? Come to dinner, we'll relax a bit. We'll await you at 1 p.m.' as we were walking on the Saint Peter's Square, I told my wife: 'There might be 200 people so we'll vanish in the crowd.' So we came back at 1 p.m. as we were told, we reached the stairs again, passed the Swiss Guards with their halberds – so later, while we were shooting ‘Habemus papam’, I was familiar with everything there. We came in and there was Cardinal Deskur, who died few years later, we, and two secretaries - Dziwisz and the other young one - that was all. So we took our places by the table in front of the Pope... we were lucky to have Malak there who would speak about that times; I, myself, was talking a lot about school and how it all had started and developed. But the Pope, who had already difficulty speaking, looked at me and said: 'I saw you in the Old Theater acting in 'Dziady';
I remember that performance.' Although my sense of humor didn't disappear, I thought I had to say this: 'Holy Father, I'm sorry but I played the part of the Beelzebub '. And I could notice his smiling eyes, he was already unable to smile back then, and said: 'One can't choose a part', and then he pointed at himself. The dinner went on. Incidentally, it turned out that we have some common friends. Later, Father Dziwisz thanked us saying that he had invited us hoping to cheer the Pope up. He wanted to hear what was going on in Cracow and the theater circles, to which he had no access. That was our second meeting. The third one was the funeral; that's also what I remember well. Professor Ziejka called (he was a rector of the Jagiellonian University at that time) and asked if I wanted to go to the service, there was one or two days left. We flew the next day. The atmosphere on that day… I know the Saint Peter's Square – tranquil and windless; this is a basin, in general Rome is nothing but a great basin. In addition, the palisade around the Square - it's obvious it is hot there. And then out of the blue wind.. Incredible.
During his pontificate, the Pope crossed cultural and religious boundaries because he had always had one goal in mind despite his illness: to reach the man. What would you tell about his struggle?
Stuhr: He was a great role model for all mankind. The fact that ill people don’t have to be ashamed of their disease anymore, it was the Pope who triggered it, at least I think so. He liberated them from this odium of separation. I know this shame, these concerns – you’re isolated from your closest ones, perhaps you will never see them again. And it is a very unpleasant thing to show suffering in our times when everybody wants to be young and healthy. You have to exude vitality – it’s not true. Finding the courage to say ‘I suffer’, I think the Pope commenced it. Maybe I also drew unconsciously some inspirations from his effort. I remember him when he couldn’t speak anymore from that window of his and he angrily hit the windowsill. He gave the humanity a great example by not being ashamed of infirmity, which of course provoked heavy criticism from the secular world. ‘Pope? He should be resting in his bed now, not show up in public. That was the opinion of the world, for which Pope was only some elderly man in a white dress.
That was the voice of followers of the eternal youth.
Stuhr: That’s correct. However, we have this French comedy ‘Untouchable’ where the protagonist is quadriplegic and at least 2 million people went to see it. And they laughed but didn’t laugh down! So maybe some origins of this attitude can be found in the suffering of John Paul II. And if you recall the shots in the St. Peter’s Square… it was a great cross to bear. And he actually is more remembered for this – they say ‘JP2 generation’ but if you ask anyone, I ask my students sometimes, what was said in that encyclical or in another one, nobody will know. But they do remember that cross.
An experienced actor told me once that, as a child, he’d wanted to become a doctor and that now he knows many doctors who in turn wanted to be actors. He argues that it’s due to the fact that both professions require a healthy dose of empathy. What’s your opinion?
Stuhr: I’m not sure if empathy is something necessary for an actor. I knew many non-empathic people who were superb actors, so I wouldn’t associate these two facts. I remember that there were actually more candidates to theatre school who came from the seminary. I also know now many non-empathic doctors, thus I wouldn’t say that this profession has anything to do with empathy.
It should be exactly the opposite but that’s a somewhat idealistic approach. I knew many actors who weren’t empathetic but were great observers, although very cruel at times. They would then release it all, as if in defiance of everyone around. As though they needed this métier to free themselves from their complexes. How splendidly can a coward play a hero because he wants to be like that… This is very complicated matter but I don’t think there is a place for empathy here.
What kind of experience is it for a veteran actor to work with young people?
Stuhr: This is something completely different; we’re talking about pedagogy here. It is essential to have a feeling of a certain mission. I’ve always considered it my most respectable profession. As an artist I can make a mistake, I’m free to do virtually anything. But if a pedagogue does something wrong, repercussions are inevitable: students will accept it, learn it and later it will turn out that it’s not true. It requires a great deal of concentration and patience. And in case of pedagogy as unusual as art pedagogy, you sometimes have to wait for a very long time for a result. You need to teach how to discover one’s personality and how to use this knowledge. Yes, it is definitely a service. Nevertheless, it is getting more and more difficult for me to teach because of the generation gap. Therefore I’m slowly withdrawing from this guidance pedagogy. I used to be a spiritual guide for my students but I don’t understand modern youngsters anymore. Still, I can be useful for them when it comes to technique, which is why I’m shifting now towards subjects focusing more on technical matters than on this sort of inner training. I think it’s natural though – the generation gap, the difference in access to information, they’re enormous. I always give this example: I was conducting a lecture and I forgot the name of a XVII century English poet. I quoted something related to the Bible, so perhaps it was Milton. I think to myself ‘I will remember in few minutes, there’s nothing to worry about’ so I just continue and ramble on and on. Suddenly, one of the students asks me if that’s the one I was talking about and shows me his phone: XVII century, England… Milton. And I would have had to go to the library, borrow a book… that was my education. I think it quite well shows the difference between us. It will remain this way, although when we talk about the technique, I see they are usually more attentive. I think I prefer to work now with young directors, it’s something else. It resembles more a joint discussion, whereas theatre school is essentially a vocational school – you learn your job and that’s all.
How would you describe the difference between the contemporary actors and their predecessors?
Stuhr: I’ve always regarded acting as the great art of creation. For me, it is an art to create a man I am not and to make the spectator believe that I actually am this man. Tadeusz Łomnicki was such an actor. I didn’t care where the real Łomnicki was, I wanted to know in what kind of fiction he would make me believe, how he would bewitch me this time. Today it’s exactly the opposite. The decision to expose oneself is more appreciated. To expose body, mind and complexes – something I would always conceal. That’s the difference.
It sounds quite similar to the theories preached by Kantor or Grotowski.
Stuhr: Maybe it started back then but they have never neglected the form. There was an enormous effort to give this exposure an adequate form. Nowadays, nobody cares about it. The decision to show one’s weakness is sufficient, which is why it all becomes more intimate. Theatre becomes more private, quiet, which affects the technique of these actors. They aren’t able to play for 1500 people. It is visible with the naked eye how contemporary stages are shrinking. The only people who come to see such spectacles are insiders or those who want to spy on people, not to watch them and with this kind of theatre I have definitely less in common. The same thing goes for the theatre that is politically active. I’ve always shunned it. Theatre should never be political as far as I’m concerned. It used to be but it’s not a place for political agitation because it immediately becomes an agitation – I support somebody against another person, whereas my duty is to ask questions! Shakespeare asked questions. My role is to show human and his complexity instead of saying: ‘be like that, take this and that for granted’. Hence, I’m slowly retiring from theatre or try to search such places where my vision is still accepted. That’s why I have this small niche and together with Ms. Janda and Mr. Gogolewski we play Chekhov. What makes us think we should continue? People want to watch our spectacles and buy tickets even six months earlier. It never ceases to astonish me what happens in this theatre. Yet, these different approaches should be accepted naturally. I would like to refer now to my university days. I had marvelous teachers who made me familiar with this sine wave depicting the ever-changing taste of successive generations. There is no need to take offense at that generation as the generation of our fathers did. ‘What Konrad doesn’t have his shirt tucked in pants in ‘Dziady’?! Impossible!’. At first, in the fifties, there was Mr Gogolewski as Konrad – an unattainable model of man, hero, romantic… then came Mr. Trela, all in convulsions, bashing his body against the floor, sweating and exhausted to prove that he ‘loves a whole Nation! And he has embraced all its generations, the past and those to come, he pressed it to his breast’. And that’s how our fathers reacted ‘That’s just disgusting’. Yet, if you are aware of this sine wave, it’s easier to digest it. Only one thing remains the same – to serve people. Serve people and answer their demands although in a way Andrzej Wajda puts it – ‘I want to talk with people but on my terms’. Beautiful thought, I learned it and became its follower. Talk, yes, you should never avoid it. I hate artists, especially theatrical, who scorn the audience. When I see a play where the audience is despised, I leave. Discussion, but on my terms because otherwise it means toadyism. That’s what I constantly repeat my students.
You certainly cannot say that Poland doesn’t have cinematographic traditions – we have films made by Wajda, Has or Konwicki. How come then, that the mainstream of Polish cinema is in such a miserable condition?
Stuhr: I would put it this way: we used to have the Polish Film School, the cinema of moral anxiety, in other words – artistic movements, which interested the world and our problem is due to the fact that we don’t have such a trend which would be of any interest to the world. I watch these films, when you teach; there is no way to escape it. We still tell stories only we find interesting. As a member of the European Film Academy, I am right now watching around 40 films, for which I will have to vote in less than a month, and I can say that there are dozens of films like ours. In Europe, we’re interested in artistic cinema, which would be able to show us a world we don’t know. Take for instance an Iranian film – clothes are almost identical, they drive the same cars, streets of Teheran could be easily mistaken for Paris but people… people are different. Or Austria, considered a very decent country but suddenly Mr. Haneke or Mr. Seidl show us what lurks in these houses, in these cellars… all these Fritzls, who live there, raping their daughters for years.
A similar artistic approach can be found in Polański’s ‘Carnage’.
Stuhr: That’s pure Polański and his style – the ability to raise disquietude, with which he might have had to deal through his life. Yet, he knew how to present it – he knew what form it should be given and that is the secret of his grandeur. Anxiety, dark mystery that lurks in the man… Dostojewski was great at depicting it, so is Polański, so were Kubrick and Fellini, although in his own way. Fellini, he’s the antonym of cinema, which always strived to create a world as realistic as possible. And he said ‘No, everything will be artificial. And they will still have to believe’. For instance, ‘Casanova’ begins, you see San Giorgio, and you see Venice but the sea it’s made of plastic! And it all takes place in a movie studio! The spectators, however, believe it. Polish cinema doesn’t have this kind of courage and that’s why only we find our films interesting. 90% of all films are like that, whereas the nominated five movies will be seemingly similar, contemporary but at the same time – completely different. ‘Habemus papam’ is a good example; it’s not easy to make such a film. You need to find the courage to come up with such an idea, which will also be simple, so everyone can understand it. You become the Pope and you aren’t strong enough to face the followers. I understand it perfectly and any moviegoer will tell you the same thing! I ask myself the same questions when I’m waiting behind the scenes in the theatre: will I make it, will I have enough strength to do it, I have to go, I can hear the sound of the gong. Yet, it’s only one evening, whereas being obliged to face all these people in the St. Peter Square… you can have such an idea only once in a lifetime. I had it once; toutes proportions gardées of course, when I was making ‘Love Stories’. Kieślowski was one of the first people whom I told about it. ‘Listen, I have an idea. Four different guys and I play them all’ and he says ‘Brilliant!
I made ‘Blind Chance’ after all, write it down immediately!’. And I had this idea, while I was driving to Cracow from Warsaw. ‘Four guys… but you’d have to do this so that the audience could right away see that they are different persons...and if just dressed them.. a cassock, a uniform, handcuffs... I’ve got it! And you’ve got a film’ It happens once in a lifetime.
You have also acted in Italian theatres and that takes a lot of language skill.
Stuhr: First of all it had to be justified that a foreigner spoke the lines - it can always be sensed. I’ve put so much effort into justifying this so that the audience could accept it. In ‘Habemus papam’ the role was written for me so everything was all right. I’ve accepted another role in a cassock (I play a Jesuit in an Italian film), but he’s Belgian or Dutch. But I haven’t accepted a part in an Italian series about the Olivetti family who produced typewriters and computers. It’s about Italians, and I won’t play an Italian!
In which language do you prefer to act? Polish or Italian?
Stuhr: No, no... in Polish. I always act in Polish. I’m joking that you act in Polish here points at his stomach, here you act in Polish points at his chest and here points at his throat it’s translated and some strange sounds come out, but you feel and act in Polish. And I don’t want to change it, I don’t want to pretend to be French, Italian, English. My strength is that I remain myself, and I only use a foreign language so that the audience could understand me better. I prefer not to use subtitles, although they are more and more common in the theatre. However, to go on stage and play in a foreign language... I wouldn’t do it anymore. It’s difficult, but I’ve always tried to justify that, like in the ‘Contrabassist’. The protagonist says: ‘we, German musicians’, ‘in our orchestra in Germany it’s like this...’. My impresario in Italy came to me after every show to point out mistakes that I made. When you talk for two hours you are bound to make mistakes, even the Pope made them in Italian. So he comes to me and says: ‘You were wrong here, you said del instead of Della’. And I listen to him and say: ‘I’ll correct this and this, but that stays’ - after all a German musician could make a mistake and the audience understood this and accepted it.
You have published a journal ‘I’m just thinking...’ Are you planning to become more active in the field of literature?
Stuhr: The day before yesterday I was in Wydawnictwo Literackie (Literary Press) because I’ve also released an audiobook. It should already be on sale. My editor told me that they’ve sold 78 thousand copies. It’s a great success, they have to reprint it, it can reach even 100 thousand copies and they beg me to continue writing. They try to convince me but I’m not a writer at all. Today I said on the TV that I didn’t read goodnight stories to my children but made them up myself. I created this character, Casper, who everyday had a new adventure. I didn’t even manage to come home when a publisher called me and asked me to write a children's book. Maybe I should retrain myself? I’ve always wanted to be a writer; it’s been my dream. I’ve made a mistake choosing my career. I love writing most of all, but it happened otherwise in my life. But it’s still inside me. If hundred thousand people wanted to read my scribble, maybe something good will result from that, it’s an incredible incentive. But at the moment I’m not rushing things. I believe it’s the most respectful form of expression. Apart from that, I don’t have to be an artist at seven o’clock p.m. anymore. All my life there was this control light indicating ‘watch out, you’re acting tonight, save your strength’. And now - the blank page can go to the rubbish bin and I can think about it tomorrow. This freedom or pursue of the freedom is wonderful. Maybe these screenplays I’ve written so far were some kind of a substitute for my longing for writing. Life is strange sometimes, maybe I will write a children’s book one day...
October 17, 2012
Photos: Małgorzata Wieruszewska - portrait of Jerzy Stuhr & Waldemar Kopala - Stuhr as a Szwejk, 1999