Leo Kantor „ I have no reason to cry”
Thursday, 06 August 2009 11:21
At the festival he presented his documentary theatre “TO LEAVE WITH VIOLIN”.
During the interview with us, he talked about Jewish identity, Swedish mentality and Polish cucumbers…

Kuba Żary: Let me begin with the question we usually ask at the end of an interview, which is connected with the Festival motto: “The world’s gone crazy”. Do you think it’s true?

Leo Kantor: This is exactly what the performance I created is about. About the world that not only got crazy but is also extremely spinny. The show is about the disastrous effects of World War II, about March 1960 and about modern times. The question “What is this world?” was the central point of the show. If it hurts people, which it definitely does everyday, if it doesn’t respect individuality, the disabled, poor, ill people, the Jews, Romanies… if it is that way, then it’s not normal. If it’s not normal, we can call it crazy. Of course we can distinguish different kinds of craziness. One can get crazy in a funny way- play samba and all that jazz, but that’s positive, creative madness. ‘Crazy’ is great for artists. Some aspects of it are approvable and have to be accepted in all dimensions – artistic and moral.

KŻ: I was going to ask you about it in my next question, about the positive manifestation of craziness…

LK: Sure there is a lot of it! It would be fascism if everything was completely normal. If it’s all in order, even, neatly folded, all straight like the wires of concentration camps’ fences, like the barracks in Auschwitz, so firmly straight, then we are on a straight way to fascism.

KŻ: I asked you whether the world’s gone crazy at the beginning because you belong to the generation of March ’68, the generation whose belief in its craziness may be very strong. In one of your interviews you told that “the wounds after being chased out never heal”. Have those 20 years that passed since you had been here in 1989 changed anything? Did your wounds started to heal or is it something that will never happen?

LK: I’m not saying that March ’68 was a very brutal act of violence, because we all remember that after 1968 we saw more horrifying scenes- the beginning of strikes in 1970, states of emergency, people being tortured and killed. But still it was a situation that had never occurred in the history of contemporary world- 20 years after the extermination of the Jews, someone came up with the idea that they were a hostile element and needed to be banished. There’s a good term in Polish that describes it perfectly: ‘dis-Jew-ment’. They wanted to disjew the country that had once been home for 3,5 million Jews. In 1968 there were already twenty thousand of them, but now there are only 1000-1500. Don’t you agree it was brutal? Can the wound ever heal? I’m all right, from all sides I am welcomed with friendliness and empathy. I have no reason to cry. But most people of my generation don’t feel that way- they can come here, go to the theatre or cinema, buy a book… but then they leave. It’s not their ground any more. Now they are Americans, Swedish or Dutch. It’s a little bit different with me- my mother was burried here in Poland, in the Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław. But had she left Poland after 1968, I probably wouldn’t come here. But she is here and this is what draws me back to Poland.

The article was taken from the festival free periodical, ‘TWO RIVERSIDES Voice’ no 6.
© Copyright 2009 Festiwal Filmu i Sztuki DWA BRZEGI Kazimierz Dolny-Janowiec n/Wisłą 2008 - Dyrektor artystyczny Grażyna Torbicka. All rights reserved.
Foto - Agencja TRIADA Katarzyna Rainka oraz Tomasz Stokowski. Projekt - Bartosz Rabiej. Nazwa Festiwalu - Miroslaw Olszówka. Strona by Sara Kozińska.