Tag Archives: Wojciech Pszoniak

Andrzej Wajda – Danton [Extras] (1983)

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Best known for political films such as Ashes and Diamonds and A Generation, Polish director Andrzej Wajda travels to 18th-century Paris in Danton — but his politics remain firmly grounded in the 20th century. Much like his most recent film Katyn, which chronicled the murder of 15,000 Polish officers by the Soviets during World War II, Danton takes us to the morning after the French Revolution, when the monarchy has been toppled and the revolutionaries have no one left to fight but themselves. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Danton (1983)

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Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak star in Andrzej Wajda’s powerful, intimate depiction of the ideological clash between the earthy, man-of-the-people Georges Danton and icy Jacobin extremist Maximilien Robespierre, both key figures of the French Revolution. By drawing parallels to Polish “solidarity,” a movement that was being quashed by the government as the film went into production, Wajda drags history into the present. Meticulous and fiery, Danton has been hailed as one of the greatest films ever made about the Terror. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Korczak (1990)

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Henryk Goldszmit – aka, Janusz Korczak – was born in 1878 to a prosperous, assimilated Jewish family in Warsaw. Convinced from an early age that the rights of children needed defending, he studied pediatrics and organized a number of institutions for children, including a famous orphanage that he was forced to move into the Jewish ghetto after the Nazis invaded Poland. Yet he remained convinced that even the Nazis would not harm his children. Wajda’s moving, wrenching and highly controversial portrait of Korczak ponders the fate of a kind of modern saint in a world in which evil has become the rule. Brilliantly incarnated by Wojciech Pszoniak from a script by Agnieszka Holland, Korczak both fascinates and repulses. The man’s complete, unquestionable dedication to his children is set against a refusal to understand – or perhaps accept – the reality all around him. A thoughtful, provocative work that was clearly a key influence on Schindler’s List. Read More »

Andrzej Zulawski – Diabel AKA The Devil (1972)

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At the climax of Harold Pinter’s vaguely allegorical but wholly chilling play The Birthday Party, the broken hero is being taken away by strangers, no doubt to a bad place. The locals, who have no idea what sort of political act of terror is being committed, stand by helplessly, but one of them rises and says, “Stan, don’t let them tell you what to do!” Even though Pinter never makes a specific point of reference as to what deplorable regime is imposing its will, the viewer intuitively understands the message. So it is with Andrzej Zulawski’s The Devil. International audiences unfamiliar with Polish politics might not know or care that his horror film was based on actual events from the turbulent 1960s, during which communist authorities provoked a group of Warsaw students into staging anti-censorship protests. Read More »