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Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Wajda (6 March 1926 –

Polish film director. Recipient of an honorary Oscar, he is one of the most prominent member of the “Polish Film School”. He is acknowledged particularly for a trilogy of war films: A Generation (1954), Kanał (1956) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958).

Four of his movies have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Promised Land (1975), The Maids of Wilko (1979), Man of Iron (1981), and Katyń (2007).

Wajda is well-known as a director in theatre, his achievements includes some fantastic spectacles, such as Michael V. Gazzo’s Hatful of Rain (1959), Hamlet (1960), Two On a Seesaw (1963) by William Gibson.

Wajda was absorbed by allegory and symbolism, and certain symbols (such as setting fire to a glass of liquor, sygnifying the flame of youthful idealism that was quenched by the war) which were reflected in his films. The very characteristic of Wajda’s symbolism is the film Lotna (1959), full of surrealistic and symbolic scenes and shots.

In the mid-1960s Wajda presented the world an epic film The Ashes (1965) based on the novel by Polish writer Stefan Żeromski and made a few films abroad: Love at Twenty (1962), Siberian Lady Macbeth (1962) or Gates To Paradise (1968).

The 1970s were the most productive time for Andrzej Wajda who produced:  Landscape After the Battle (1970), Pilate And others (1971), The Wedding (1972) – the film version of Polish most famous poetic drama by Stanisław Wyspiański, The Promised Land (1974), Man of Marble (1976), The Shadow Line (1976), Rough treatment (the other title: Without Anesthesia) (1978), The Orchestra Conductor (1980); or two, very touching, psychological and existential films based upon novels by Polish famous writer Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz - The Birch Wood (1970) and The Maids of Wilko (1979).

Later Wajda committed himself  to Polish Solidarity movement; it resulted in producing Man of Iron (1981) with Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa performing as himself in the film. The director’s connection with Solidarity would be an impuls for the Polish government to force Wajda’s production company out of business. The Polish director won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1983 he directed Danton, starring Gérard Depardieu in the title role; Wajda was honoured and received very prestigious Louis Delluc Award for this film, he also gained a couple of Cesare Awards.

There was even more important films produced in the 1980s:  A Love in Germany (1983) with Hanna Schygulla, The Chronicle of Amorous Incidents (1986) an adaptation of Tadeusz Konwicki’s novel and The Possessed (1988) based on Dostoyevsky’s novel (it`s about how terrorism begins). In theatre he showed some unique spectacles (Antygone, Hamlet, The Dybbuk) a very famous interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1984).

Other achievements after 1989:

  • In 1990 Andrzej Wajda was honoured as the third director, after Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman by Felix - European Film Award for his lifetime achievement.
  • In the early 1990s, he was elected a senator and also appointed artistic director of Warsaw’s Teatr Powszechny.
  • In 2000 Wajda was presented with an honorary Oscar for his contribution to world cinema.
  • In 2006, Wajda received an honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival.
  • In 2007 Andrzej Wajda made Katyń and in 2008 the film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film.
  • In 2009 for Sweet Rush the director was awarded by Alfred Bauer Prize at The Berlin Film Festival.

Andrzej Wajda`s Filmography :

  • The Bad Boy (Zły chłopiec, 1951)- short film
  • The Pottery at Ilza (Ceramika ilzecka, 1951) -short film
  • While you are sleeping (Kiedy ty śpisz, 1953) -short film
  • A Generation (Pokolenie, 1954)
  • Towards the Sun (Idę do słońca, documentary on Xawery Dunikowski, 1955)
  • Kanal (1956)
  • Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament 1958)
  • Lotna (1959)
  • Innocent Sorcerers (Niewinni czarodzieje, 1960)
  • Siberian Lady Macbeth (Powiatowa lady Makbet, 1961)
  • Samson (1961)
  • Love at Twenty (L’amour à vingt ans, 1962)
  • The Ashes (Popioly, 1965)
  • Everything For Sale (Wszystko na sprzedaż, 1968)
  • Roly Poly (Przekładaniec, 1968)
  • Gates to Paradise (Bramy Raju, 1968)
  • Hunting Flies (Polowanie na muchy, 1969)
  • The Birch Wood (Brzezina, 1970)
  • Landscape After the Battle (Krajobraz po bitwie, 1970)
  • Pilate and Others (Pilatus und andere, 1972)
  • The Wedding (Wesele, 1973)
  • The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana, 1974)
  • The Shadow Line (Smuga cienia, 1976)
  • Man of Marble (Człowiek z marmuru, 1977)
  • Without Anesthesia aka Rough Treatment (Bez znieczulenia, 1978)
  • The Maids of Wilko (Panny z Wilka, 1979)
  • As years go by, as days go by (“Z biegiem lat, z biegiem dni”, 1980 television serial.)
  • The Orchestra Conductor (Dyrygent, 1980)
  • Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza, 1981)
  • Danton (1983)
  • A Love in Germany (Eine Liebe in Deutschland, 1983)
  • A Chronicle of Amorous Accidents (Kronika wypadków miłosnych, 1985)
  • The French as seen by… (Proust contre la déchéance, 1988)
  • The Possessed (Les possédes, 1988)
  • Korczak (1990)
  • The Crowned-Eagle Ring (Pierścionek z orłem w koronie, 1992)
  • Nastasja (1994)
  • The Holy Gral (Wielki Tydzień, 1995)
  • Miss Nobody (Panna Nikt, 1996)
  • Pan Tadeusz (1999)
  • Bigda idzie (tv theatre “Bigda idzie!”; 1999)
  • The Condemnation of Franciszek Klos (Wyrok na Franciszka Kłosa, 2000)
  • June night (“Noc czerwcowa” -tv theatre, 2001)
  • Broken Silence (Przerwane milczenie, 2002)
  • The Revenge (Zemsta, 2002)
  • Man of Hope (Czlowiek z nadziei) (2005)
  • Katyń (2007)
  • Sweet Rush (Tatarak) (2009)
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