Lviv-born director due to make WWII drama

The life of one of Central Europe's most fabled writers is set for the big screen, courtesy of Lviv-born director Serhiy Proskurnia.

Waiting for the Messiah, which will be a Polish-Ukrainian-German-Israeli co-production, explores the fate of Bruno Schulz, who has been dubbed the Polish Kafka.

The drama will be shot in Schulz's home town of Drohobych, not far from Lviv. Schulz was born into a relatively prosperous Jewish family, and he studied architecture at Lviv's Polytechnic. The city was then a part of the Habsburg Empire.

After the war, Schulz worked as an art teacher in Drohobych, which was incorporated into the reborn Poland. His fantastical short stories made him the toast of liberal literary circles in Warsaw, but whilst he had some friends from the beau monde, he was notably shy and rarely ventured beyond his native town.

During the war, Schulz was herded into the Nazis' newly-created ghetto for Jews. His extraordinary artistic talents won him an unlikely protector in the form of a Gestapo officer named Felix Landau. However, in an apparent act of revenge, Schulz was gunned down in the street by another Gestapo man who had a grudge against Landau.

Filming is due to begin this year, and director Proskurnia hopes the film will be premiered in 2012, a year which sees the 110th anniversary of Schulz's birth, and the 70th of his tragic death.


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