Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Wajda – Czlowiek z marmuru aka Man of Marble (1977)

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Plot:
The first of Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s two “Solidarity” films, Man of Marble (originally Czlowiek Z Marmuru) concerns bricklayer Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwilowicz). Lauded as a national hero in the 1950s due to his skills at his trade, Birkut has inexplicably fallen into obscurity. In making a film of the bricklayer’s life, documentary director Krystyna Janda discovers that the bricklayer used his sudden fame to become involved in labor politics — whereupon the repressive government did its best to wipe out all traces of his accomplishments. This climactic revelation was, ironically, excised by the Polish censors when Man of Marble was first released. Director Wajda followed this film with Man of Iron, which traced the further political exploits of director Janda and her husband, the son of the unfortunate bricklayer — also played by Jerzy Radziwilowicz. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Popiól i Diament AKA Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

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Introduction & Synopsis from Allmovie.com
This is the last film in the trilogy that began Andrzej Wajda’s career as a director. Preceding this wartime drama are Pokolenie (1955) and Kanal (1957). Once again, Wajda presents a strong anti-war statement, this time in the personae of two men who are given orders on the last day of World War II in Poland to murder a leading communist. The orders come from the part of the resistance that opposes the new communist regime. One of Wajda’s favorite performers and a friend, Zbigniew Cybulski, plays the man who eventually pulls the trigger and kills the communist leader — and the results are not what he expected. In 1959, Popiol I Diament won in competition at the British Academy Awards and at the Venice Film Festival. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Powidoki AKA Afterimage (2016)

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Quote:
While he’s exercising filmmaking muscles that are mighty spry for a 90-year-old, no one will mistake Andrzej Wajda’s latest feature for an expression of joie de vivre: “Afterimage” is a somber portrait of a Polish artist who, unlike his portraitist here, was defeated by the fickle shifts of political ideology imposed on art. This respectable if somewhat monotonous drama won’t be an easy sell to offshore audiences for whom its subject, avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski is hardly a household name. Moreover the film references his defining triumphs just in passing, focusing instead on bleak later years when he was persecuted for failing to tow the Party aesthetic line. The result is another significant chapter in Polish history from Wajda, albeit one unlikely to travel as widely as some of his past subjects. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei AKA Walesa: Man of Hope (2013)

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The depiction of the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Poland’s Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, as events in the 1970s lead to a peaceful revolution.

Quote:
Wałęsa, an electrician at the Gdańsk Shipyards, participated in local demonstrations during the 1970s. Following the bloody aftermath, which remains with Wałęsa, he concentrates on his day-to-day duties. Ten years later, a new uprising occurs and he becomes an unexpected and charismatic leader of Polish dockworkers. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Czlowiek z zelaza AKA Man of Iron (1981)

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Quote:
Wajda’s remarkable sequel to Man of Marble welds newsreel footage of the Solidarity strike to fiction in a strong investigative drama. A disillusioned, vodka-sodden radio producer is bundled off to Gdansk in a black limousine. His mission: to smear one of the main activists – who also happens to be the son of the hapless ‘Marble’ worker-hero. But, tempered by bitter experience of the failed reforms of ’68 and ’70, these new men of iron are more durable than their fathers, not as easily smashed. Media cynicism, censorship and corruption are again dominant themes, this time anchored through the TV coverage of the strike, though the conclusion hints with guarded optimism at a possible rapprochement between workers and intelligentsia. An urgent, nervy narrative conveys all the exhilaration and bewilderment of finding oneself on the very crestline of crucial historical change; and for the viewer, all the retrospective melancholy of knowing that euphoria shattered by subsequent events. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Eine Liebe in Deutschland AKA A Love in Germany (1983)

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Plot
In May of 1983, a man turns 49 and, with his 17-year old son, journeys to the village in Baden that he left 40 years before. He wants to discover what happened then, the truth about an affair his mother had with a young Polish prisoner of war, how the authorities came to learn of it, the lovers’ arrest, and the aftermath. While his son takes Polaroid photographs, he retraces the steps of his childhood and interviews those who should remember. The story is disclosed in flashbacks that focus on the lovers (Paulina and Stanislaus), on a jealous and conniving neighbor, and on Mayer, the local SS commander who wants to find a way out of inevitable consequences.

Nominated
Venice Film Festival – Golden Lion – 1983 Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Zly chlopiec AKA The Bad Boy (1950)

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Synopsis:

First short film by Wajda, based on the story “A Naughty Boy” by A. Chekhov. Read More »