Holy War

Holy War (Święta wojna) is a Polish sitcom that ran from 2000 to 2009. It takes place in Katowice, and much of the dialogue is in the Silesian dialect, a version of Polish influenced by German that is spoken in parts of Poland and the Czech Republic.

The TV show is about a husband and wife and their various friends and acquaintances. The main character, Bercik, used to be a miner but is now retired, since the mine closed; he spends much of his time drinking and getting himself into ridiculous situations. He’s also very anti-Warsaw, though his best friend, Zbyszek, who he met in the army, is the opposite—always trying to come across as sophisticated and urban. Bercik’s wife, Andzia, exists mainly to get in the way of Bercik’s plans and to criticize him for his drunkenness. Much of the action in the series takes place at Alojz’s bar, where many of the main characters like to drink.

In addition to the simple, everyday funny situations the heroes find themselves in, the show also shows the cultural and linguistic differences between the regions of Poland, as embodied by the differences between the Silesian Bercik and the Warsaw-ian Zbyszek.

Holy War‘s three main actors—Zbigniew Buczkowski (Zbyszek), Joanna Bartel (Andzia), and Krzysztof Hanke (Bercik)—are all known mainly for their roles on the show. Bartel and Hanke have both also had side careers as comedians and singers—Hanke took part in the singing competition show Jak oni śpiewają, but was eliminated early on; Bartel has worked extensively in cabaret. Buczkowski is probably the best-known of the bunch, with an extremely long list of film credits to his name and a handprint on the Polish Promenade of Stars.

 

Director: Dariusz Goczał
Stars: Krzysztof Hanke, Zbigniew Buczkowski, Joanna Bartel, Paweł Polok, Bogdan Kalus, Grzegorz Stasiak, Andrzej Mrozek
Production company: Agencja Telewizyjna ZOOM, TVP Poznań
TV channel: TVP2

 

The show’s first episode:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.