I’m old enough to remember the early 1980s, when Andrej Wajda enjoyed a brief vogue in the western press as an “anti-communist” filmmaker. But his two Solidarity films, Man of Marble and Man of Iron, are a lot more complex than simple anti-communist propaganda.
Andrzej Wajda has always been a difficult filmmaker to pin down ideologically. Almost 90, he made his first film, A Generation, under Poland’s Stalinist government in the early 1950s. His greatest work, Ashes and Diamonds, was released in 1958, two years after the death of pro-Moscow hardliner Bolesław Bierut. He continued to make films in the 1960s and 1970s under Poland’s more moderate form of communism, went into exile in the 1980s, then returned to Poland in the 90s, eventually making the openly anti-communist Katyn in 2007. Wajda knows how to bend with the political wind.
Man of Marble, made at the beginning of the Solidarity era, looks ahead to the fall of communism, yet back to Orson Welles and Leni Reifenstahl. It is perhaps, the greatest film ever made about making a film, if only because it’s a botched film about a botched film. The script, which had languished…
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2 thoughts on “Man of Marble (1976)”
This film, along with several others of his, have been such a hot topic in my film course this semester. I appreciate the articles and blog posts written about Andrzej Wajda and his movies. More people, especially my generation (the millennials) need to watch his films and learn from the subtle messages he teaches. That’s how I feel.
The main character of Man of Marble is a 22-year-old film student so millennials will identify. Moreover, in the successor Man of Iron, part of the tragedy comes from a generational divide between a father and son.