“Knight,” a new film about Saint Maximilian Kolbe produced by the Polish Bishop Conference’s Opoka Foundation, unveils the life of this martyr, missionary, inventor, founder of the Militia of the Immaculata, and founder of a modern media company.
Opoka Foundation president and producer of the film Father Marek Gancarczyk explained the importance of Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s impact.
“Any time is a good time for victory. This was proved by the recently beatified Ulma family. Maximilian Kolbe proved it. The former did not allow themselves to be entangled in the truly diabolical snares of German law, which punished with death every Pole, not only for hiding Jews, and not only for helping to hide them, but also for not informing them that somewhere Jews were being hidden,” Father Gancarczyk said.
“Father Kolbe, on the other hand, went through the German death camp of Auschwitz like a knight. Exhausted, hungry, cold, but with his head held high. In the end, he was the one who prevailed,” he concluded.
Opoka Foundation / “Knight” premiere in Rome, Italy
The 57-minute documentary shows the life of Saint Maximilian against the background of Polish history.
Director Michal Szymanowicz also explained the importance of this heroic martyr’s life.
“For most people, Father Maximilian remains primarily a martyr. Meanwhile, his rich biography may inspire many people. In all areas he dealt with, he did not recognize compromise,” he said.
“Entering the [Franciscan] Order, he took the name Maximilian, which in Latin means ‘greatest,’ and this name perfectly characterized his future actions.”
“Few people realize how ageless and rich his figure is,” Szymanowicz continued. “He was a missionary, an inventor, the founder of the largest men’s order in Europe at the time, and the founder of a modern media company. Martyrdom was the culmination of his entire life. That’s why we tried to recreate his life as faithfully as possible.”
The shooting of the film “Knight” was done in places associated with the holy martyr, including the monastery of the Franciscan Fathers in Niepokalanów, Harmęże, the Museum of the Birthplace of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and the Museum of the 10th Pavilion of the Warsaw Citadel.
The documentary uses many original exhibits, including the bicycle on which Saint Maximilian rode, along with dozens of photographs documenting the life of the martyr and the monks at Niepokalanów.
“Both Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the blessed Ulma family grew out of Polish soil. They are the mature and beautiful fruits of Catholic piety, which by many has been and still is disregarded, while in the meantime, it has formed such pearls as the Ulmas and Father Kolbe,” Father Garncarczyk said.
“It is constantly necessary to show these great saints and Poles to the world. They deserve it, as well as Poland and the Church in Poland, which produced such heroes.”
EWTN Poland Editor-in-Chief Piotr Pietrus said “the film has been very well received” after the “pre-premiere” during the International Film Festival Maksymiliany in Wrocław, Poland.
(The official premiere took place on Oct. 13 in Warsaw, while an official screening took place in Rome on Oct. 30.)
Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) / “Knight” premiere in Warsaw, Poland
“I think it will also appeal to foreign audiences,” Pietrus commented. “Its value is the historical context of Saint Maximilian’s life: the reality of the First and Second World Wars, the interwar period, and the present day.”
“Knight” will broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), which reaches nearly 400 million households in 150 countries around the world.
“The life of Saint Maximilian is a signpost for every Christian – not only in Poland, where the figure is well-known, but also for Christians around the world, who will see this movie. To offer one’s life in the service of others is a call for everyone. And it’s not about Caritas or social work, it’s about something more: to transform oneself into a fully Christlike man, a man who does not put himself first but Christ and his work of evangelization.”
– Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki.
“The first film produced by the Opoka Foundation about Blessed Stefan Wyszynski was seen by more than 30 million viewers in the first week alone,” Father Piotr Wiśniowski, spiritual supervisor of EWTN Poland, said.
“St. Maximilian is an even better-known figure. We plan to translate the documentary into English, Spanish, as well as German so that people of different cultures and nationalities can watch it. Commentators such as George Weigel and Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who appear in the film, are figures familiar to European and American viewers.”
Watch the film in Polish below:
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!