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Andrzej Wajda

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on: February 10, 2009, 09:15:41 PM
Andrzej Wajda plans Walesa film
Filmmaker to direct movie on '80s political leader
Source: Variety

Poland’s eminence gris of filmmaking, Andrzej Wajda, is planning to make a film about 1980s pro-democracy Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, with a script by Agnieszka Holland.

Wajda, whose new film “Sweet Rush” plays in competition on Friday, said growing anger at the cavalier way Walesa and his achievements are treated by some in Poland today had prompted his decision.

“What worries and makes me angry today is the situation where the hero of Solidarity, Lech Walesa, who played such an important role in history, is being attacked by people who are nobodies in comparison with him,” Walesa told Variety.

“These people have emerged from nowhere. They represent the worst part of our society and I cannot come to terms with that.”

Wajda, who spoke with Walesa and his wife Danuta over the weekend before leaving Warsaw for Berlin, said the project was personally important to him.

“I think that perhaps the way to tell this story is through Walesa’s wife; through a woman’s point of view, a woman who has so many children and so many duties, with a husband always busy, engaged in the trade union movement or in prison. This could give the film a human touch,” Wajda added.

The 82-year-old Wajda’s last film, “Katyn,” which explored the massacre of Polish officers and intellectuals by Stalin’s secret police in WWII, was in Berlin’s competition last year.

The filmmaker said the Walesa film would be informed by his own experiences in the 1980s, when he went down to the Gdansk shipyards to show solidarity with strikers workers.

The importance to Wajda of telling big stories through small, intimate personal details, is evident in his new film, “Sweet Rush.” Based on a short story by Jaroslaw Iwaskiewicz, Wajda developed and widened the story through working closely with actress Krystyna Janda, whose own real-life experiences of tending to her dying husband informed part of the film’s plot.

“I very much wanted to work again with Krystyna, whom I introduced to the screen in 1977 in ‘Man of Marble.’ Filming was delayed for a year because her husband -- a director of photography with whom I had worked on that film and others -- was ill and dying. Krystyna kept notes of her experience and shared those with me,” Wajda said.

“I suddenly realized my role was changing from that of director to confessor, that she wanted to present her part with her personal drama and go over the death of somebody who was very close to her.”

“Sweet Rush,” due for its Polish premiere in April, will be distributed internationally by French company Les Films du Losange, in a deal signed earlier this week in Berlin.
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