Andrzej Wajda


Birthdate: 1926

Living place: Warsaw, Poland

Theme: film and stage direction

ECC Participation: Honorary Committee

photo: M. Oliva Soto

Wajda has been making movies for more than half a century. His most important works form a panorama of Polish history, usually focusing on its most traumatic moments. He depicted the Warsaw Uprising fighters, widows of army officers massacred in Katyń, soldiers fighting against the Germans in the 1939 invasion of Poland, udarniks from the 1950s and Gdańsk shipyard workers during the tumultuous August of 1980. He also brought 19th century Łódź and pre-war manors of the nobility to the screen. Wajda filmed the most famous literary deconstructions of the Polish character: Mickewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz” and “The Wedding” by Wyspiański. His vision of the country’s fates derives mostly from the Romantic and modernist traditions, although critics also see traces of irony and attempts at deconstructing national myths, especially in his older movies.

”The artist cannot communicate with his audience-society by shouting from a window. Because how many people can really hear him shouting from on high?”

First international showings of “A Generation” (1954), “Kanal” (1957) and “Ashes and Diamonds” (1958) gave Wajda a reputation for using images to tell a story. Critics praised his expressive style, baroque symbolism and the ability to mix penetrating psychological insights with epic panache.

Wajda also directed several plays (among them were famous adaptations of Dostoyevsky) and worked as a screenwriter and set designer. In the early 1990s, Wajda was a senator and founded the “Manggha” Japanese Arts and Technology Center and later the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing where he now teaches.
Recipient of a European Film Award, a Golden Lion, an Oscar and a Golden Bear.

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