Genre: Short Narrative / Featurette
Location: Kielce Świętokrzyskie Poland
Adult language or content
Cast & Crew
WRITER/DIRECTOR Jan Chałupka
PRODUCER Józef Chałupka
KEY CAST Mariusz Ostrowski
Max Gracz, a relentless and somewhat drunken private detective, is hired for a routine job—to find the missing daughter of an influential businessman by a former acquaintance, who is the girl’s stepmother. Gracz is a contemporary incarnation of old-fashioned detectives like Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. He is a bit too fond of the bottle and always seems to be getting into trouble.
When writing the script for Gracz [Private Eye], I drew inspiration from the character of Philip Marlowe, the protagonist of Raymond Chandler’s noir crime stories, as well as films such as Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout. I wanted to adapt a noir crime story to the contemporary reality of a small Polish town, where people know and gossip about each other. My protagonist Max Gracz is a cynical, drunk private investigator, who despite his vices has a strong moral backbone. Of course, the story would not be complete without a beautiful femme fatale, as well as a ruthless and seemingly omnipotent businessman, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
The story presented in my film could happen anywhere – why not in a small town in southeastern Poland? After all, I myself come from such a city and I wanted to reflect its particular atmosphere. I can only hope I was successful.
The film is a completely independent production, made with no support from state institutions. The budget was tiny, and crew members as well as the actors worked for minimum rates. In spite of that, the film features leading Polish actors, including Olga Bołądź, Mariusz Jakus, and of course Mariusz Ostrowski as the eponymous protagonist. Mariusz was the good spirit of the film. He liked the role of Max very much and took the fictional private investigator from the pages of my script and turned him into a real, full-fledged character of flesh and blood. We shot the entire film in just eleven days, in many cases shooting for ten or more hours a day. The production was big, and it was the first film I directed with such a big scope. Before this production, I shot two short film études, several music videos, and low-budget commercials.