The old railway bridge in the Lower Silesian municipality of Pilchowice is 108 years old, has survived two world wars and has been an impressive backdrop in two Polish films. Now she should get a “guest role” in a film again – in the seventh episode of “Mission Impossible” with Tom Cruise in the lead role. But if the script has its way, she shouldn’t survive this film. For a short scene in the film, the old building is actually supposed to be blown up.
A boon for Lower Silesia?
The Warsaw production company Alex Stern, which is responsible for the Polish part of the filming of “Mission Impossible”, relentlessly denied press reports for a long time, as did the government of Lower Silesia. A few days ago, however, both confirmed the plan. The old railway bridge is actually supposed to be partially blown up during filming in April 2021. In an interview, the head of the production company in Warsaw described the removal of the aging structure as a boon for the entire region: The American filmmakers would finance the construction of a new bridge at the same location and even the revitalization of the railway line, which was closed in 2016, which is due to was one of the most picturesque in Lower Silesia.
Will the bridge be listed as a historical monument?
Nevertheless, resolute resistance immediately formed in the Lower Silesian province. When the plans of the American film crew became known, the local monument protection authority asked the Ministry of Culture to put the historic railway bridge, which was inaugurated in 1912 by Kaiser Wilhelm II himself, a listed building. According to a tweet from the top monument protector in Poland, Magdalena Gawin, she enjoys temporary protection and may not be blown up as long as the application has not been decided. Opponents of the breaking of the bridge also started an online petition that was signed by more than 13,000 people within a few days.
Tom Cruise and the future of Pilchowice
The residents of Pilchowice are also protesting against the planned demolition of their bridge. “For me it is inconceivable that the bridge, which has a high emotional value for us, should disappear forever for a short scene in a feature film,” says Amelia Żygadło, village mayor of Pilchowice. “In any case, we will fight for our bridge until the end.” The mayor does not accept arguments that shooting a film with Tom Cruise would open up significant future prospects for the region. On the contrary: “Blowing up the bridge would bury all future prospects for tourism in the region. I don’t believe in the promise that the bridge will be rebuilt later.” After all, the reports about the upcoming film shoot and the spectacular demolition of the bridge have meanwhile lured hosts of tourists into the village who want to quickly take a selfie with the building that became famous overnight. Before that, only a few Poles were interested in the old railway bridge in Pilchowice.
Ministry: Bridge is not automatically a monument
Some Poles, however, are in favor of blowing up the bridge. Their argument: The building is ultimately in a desolate condition and there is no money for a restoration. If the Americans rebuilt the bridge later, it would be a great thing. Poland’s deputy minister of culture, Pawel Lewandowski, also sided with those who supported the breaking of the bridge. In an interview with the “Wirtualna Polska” portal, he said: “I would not fixate myself on the idea that the bridge is a monument. Not everything that is old is a monument.” In addition, the minister said, the demolition plans only apply to part of the bridge.
Tom Cruise would rather blow up the Brooklyn Bridge
The residents of Pilchowice have meanwhile decided to write a letter to the American film producers. You want to meet with them and ask them personally to leave their bridge alone. Other opponents of the bridge demolition scoff, Tom Cruise should rather blow up the Brooklyn Bridge in New York instead of her old Lower Silesian railway bridge and then have it rebuilt. That would be far more impressive and, moreover, a spectacle that would attract worldwide attention.