A new film to be released in November tells the heroic story of the Polish cardinal who stood up to communist authorities bent on destroying the Catholic Church.

In U.S. theaters Nov. 15 and 17, “Prophet” relates the important events in the life of Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, who helped lead the Polish people out of one of the darkest periods of their history.

The cardinal, who was born on Aug. 3, 1901, and died on May 28, 1981, courageously spoke out against the Stalinist regime during his primacy and stood boldly against their attacks on the Catholic Church and on religious freedom. As the archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw, he was imprisoned by the ruling communist regime in the then People’s Republic of Poland. 

Michal Kondrat, the director of the film who is also known for his “Purgatory and Faustina: Love and Mercy” movie, talked to CNA about the historical research and interviews involved in the project.

“During the making of the film, I consulted with people who knew him [Wyszyński] personally, for example, Stenia, one of the eight women who secretly supported his activities,” he said.

“In addition, I received many interesting materials from Professor Paweł Skibiński, who has been studying Wyszyński’s memorials for over 30 years. He also gave me the once-secret transcripts of the cardinal’s talks with the communists. They helped us recreate the conversations that took place, which is a fascinating aspect of the story,” Kondrat said. 

The 126-minute film, which is in Polish with English subtitles, will be released in Poland and the United Kingdom in November. Next year, the $3 million film will be released in Spain, France, Mexico, and Latin America. 

Tickets to see the film can be purchased here through Fathom Events, the film’s distributor. 

Kondrat said he wants the world to know Wyszyński’s story and his relationship with Karol Wojtyla, who would eventually become Pope John Paul II. 

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“I believe the world should know his history,” he said. 

Kondrat said that although Wojtyla is not the main character, he appears in several scenes. 

“Wojtyła was a very important figure for Cardinal Wyszyński, and this storyline will help American audiences understand the rise of Pope John Paul II in the context of Polish history and the spirituality of Cardinal Wyszyński that preceded him,” he said.

Kondrat said that the film is “extremely relevant” to modern-day international relations, pointing to the Russian-Ukrainian war. 

“Russia is trying to conquer Ukraine and rebuild its empire, but it also has an appetite for other countries that were once part of the U.S.S.R. or in the sphere of influence, including Poland. If Putin’s script were to be realized, we would go back to the times depicted in the film,” he said.

Kondrat said that the film includes a host of special effects and a strong cast that includes prominent Italian and Polish actors.

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Polish actor Slawomir Grzymkowski is playing the role of Wyszyński.

The film includes 300 screen actors, 4,000 extras, and 40 stuntmen. Kondrat said the musical score of the film was composed by Bartosz Chajdecki, whom he called “one of the best Polish composers.”

On Sept. 12, 2021, Wyszyński was beatified by Pope Francis. More can be read about Wyszyński's life here