Matuszni Family Archive

collection Matuszni Family Archive
authors Antoni Matuszny
starring Antoni Matuszny; Paulina Matuszna; Ludwik Matuszny; Elżbieta Matuszna
length 35'20
location Poland
year 1974–1979
format 8 mm
color black and white
signature PAFD 0015 001
source of funding Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

Antoni Matuszny, who lived in the Beskid village of Laliki, has been interested in photography since he was a child. As he recalls, he wanted to save the life of his family and the village of the 70s from oblivion. At the age of thirteen, he bought his first camera, and when he was 24 years old – a Soviet Quarz 5 camera.

The film, entitled Life and Work, was recorded in 1974–1979. Its main characters are the author’s parents Paulina (born in 1909) and Ludwik (born in 1904). Working on their farm on a mountain slope, extremely picturesquely presented in films and photographs, requires a lot of strength and resilience from both people and accompanying livestock. The film presents a traditional, non-mechanized farm. We can see, among others, the rite of incense with smoke from a palm tree and the blessing of a horse and agricultural tools before the first exit into the field (which was to protect against misfortune), ploughing, the so-called kopyrtok, harrowing for sowing grain, sowing with the first seeder in the village, spreading freshly cut grass, loading it on a cart (with which the author’s wife (Elżbieta) and sister (Anna) help), mowing rye, taking out manure, clearing the so-called kruda, a mountain of stones covered with trees brought down from the field for years, pulling a huge trunk from a steep slope on special sleighs (“a risk task” as the author recalls), and finally carpentry and wheelwright works of the host. Not only can we see the work on the farm and in the yard, but also we can see the women’s work at home: mending worn-out woolen socks, peeling potatoes, lighting the stove, preparing meals. Children help with both household chores and those in the field. For example, the granddaughter Teresa helps her grandmother to collect stones from the field, while the granddaughter Basia peels potatoes. The film is also a self-portrait. We observe its author while working on the farm (for example, he helps his father with welding, he spreads freshly cut grass; the hat he wears in this scene is in his possession till this day), resting, reading a newspaper, by the fire (in a “cowboy” clothes) and pursuing his film-photo passion. At that time, he had a small photographic studio, where he took occasional photos as well as the ones for official documents. We see him teaching his nieces to take pictures.


keywords Poland, Laliki, village, mountains, the Beskid mountains, work, Quarz camera, farm, horse, cow, rite, incense, blessing, tools, plow, cart, wheel, plowing, harrowing, grubbing, mowing, rye, hay, sleigh, carpentry, wheelwright, welding, manure, darning, bonfire, photos, SLR camera, children, traditional farming, potato peeling, traditional division of roles