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Man of Marvel: Andrzej Wajda

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
7:00 p.m. Man of Iron
Andrzej Wajda (Poland, 1981)

(Czlowiek z zelaza). Winner of the 1981 Cannes Palme d’or, Man of Iron is one of the finest examples of committed, activist filmmaking, inspirational not only for its immediate subject—the rise of Poland’s Solidarity movement, complete with an appearance by Lech Walesa—but for its dissection of issues facing citizens of any country: how to live, how to create, and how to rebel in the face of oppression. In a loose sequel to Man of Marble, Wajda follows an alcoholic reporter—once a rebel, now an uncomfortable cog in the system—as he’s browbeaten into digging up dirt on the leader of a shipyard workers’ movement. What he discovers instead is the history of a man, and a movement, ready to emerge into power. Made during a brief thaw in Poland’s totalitarian regime, Man of Iron benefits from Wajda’s seamless integration of a fictional narrative with events as they were actually happening; like Solidarity itself, it was banned during the subsequent government crackdown.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Alexander Scibor-Rylski. Photographed by Edward Klosinski. With Marian Opania, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Buguslaw Linda, Krystyna Janda. (156 mins, In Polish with English subtitles, B&W/Color, 35mm)