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Man of Marvel: Andrzej Wajda

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
7:00 p.m. The Maids of Wilko
Andrzej Wajda (Poland, 1979)

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Please note: The screening of Wajda’s Danton originally scheduled for this date has been canceled. We regret any inconvenience.

(Panny z Wilka). Made just after Man of Marble, The Maids of Wilko represents an entirely other side of Andrzej Wajda, an unsentimental but poetic return to the past to explore the ironies of love and hope. Based on a novel by Polish symbolist Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, it is characterized by that combination of elegance and insight with which Wajda approaches his period pieces. Set in the twenties, The Maids of Wilko follows its protagonist, Wiktor (Daniel Olbrychski)—a solitary, war-shocked factory manager who is haunted by the death of his only friend—on a retreat to the summer home of his youth. There he involves himself with five sisters of a neighboring family. As he had in the past, Wiktor dallies with all five of the women, each of whom has reached her own level of disillusionment in life. “Wajda obviously felt and enjoyed this tale. . . . [He] reveals [in Iwaszkiewicz] a writer of deft flair for the human comedy. In fact, Iwaskiewicz appears at the end in the same train as the hero after the latter leaves. It may be a bow to the writer, who is held in closeup, or a portent of the hero’s old age” (Variety).

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Zbigniew Kaminski, based on the novella by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. Photographed by Edward Klosinski. With Daniel Olbrychski, Anna Seniuk, Maja Komorowska, Christine Pascal. (121 mins, In Polish with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)