I’d never been to Poland. The idea never really excited me, to the contrary in fact; the place seemed cold, and I wasn’t expecting anything big. The shock, then, was overwhelming, and Adam’s music was the soundtrack to my short trip.
The first time I met Adam Repucha, he was by my side in the audience at a small concert in the centre of Warsaw. An American musician was in town; no one knew his name, but the information was flying around (It sounded like ‘An American is here!’ as if it were a breath of fresh air). During the concert, the American musician asked the crowd, “What would you do with a time machine?” – surely an introduction to his next song, although I can’t remember – and Adam answered, as quickly as he could, “Play a song that I hadn’t written yet!” It was then that I decided filming him would be a good idea. I’d discovered Adam via a sad little youtube video sent to me a few days before I’d left for Poland. The link to this young guy who hadn’t yet released anything had been sent to me by Magdalena, my only Polish contact. I’d wanted to meet him, seduced by the tone of his voice, and by this drifting body, so Rimbaudian. Above all, filming songs sung in Polish, though the words may sound rough.
I arrived in Warsaw by bus, or by train, I can’t remember, directly from Berlin, where I’d spent two days filming Bruno S, who passed away two weeks later. Warsaw was a pit stop before Krakow, a city that excites the imagination quite a bit more – but to think about it, the history of the disappearing world forms the history of the emerging one, and it is evident that life can’t be found in a museum. We have to figure out if we’re seeking true life or its representation.
I would have liked to film Adam longer, to take the time to wander across Warsaw. We wanted to go to the top of the Pekin, the hated Soviet cultural palace which is nonetheless symbolic of the new Polish youth, who use it as a playing field. But the rain meddled with us, as if it believed itself to be our indispensible playmate. Maybe it was right.
On the train from Auschwitz a few days later, I listened to Adam while watching the Polish countryside move by. This unknown character and his melancholic notes, his soft voice, his fingers working, every bit made sense in my naïve interpretation of this intense past. Adam was the modern Polish hero.
The next time I go through there, I’ll find Ewa Demarczyk, promise.
Translated by Tara Dominguez