Category Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Wajda Explains Surplus Value

A Generation was Andrzej Wajda’s first major film, made in 1954 when he was 28-years-old, the year after Stalin’s death. Since the Polish government in 1954, still headed by the Stalinist Bolesław Bierut, required its filmmakers to stick largely to the principle of “socialist realism,” Wajda did not yet have the artistic freedom he would […]

Man of Iron (1981)

In 1976 the renowned Polish director Andrzej Wajda released a film called Man of Marble. Starring Krystyna Janda as Agnieszka, a young filmmaker based loosely on his assistant Agnieszka Holland, Man of Marble had a complex narrative structure modeled on Citizen Kane, a technique the cagey Wajda used to get around Communist Party censorship. Unlike […]

Man of Marble (1976)

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 […]

A Generation (1954)

A Generation was the second feature length film of the Polish director Andrzej Wajda. Unlike Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows, which is a polished masterpiece of world-historical significance, A Generation is an apprentice work. It’s an ideologically confused jumble of messages wrapped up in a film that, while showing flashes of brilliance, often strains credibility, […]

Danton (1983)

Danton, a French/Polish film directed by the Polish director Andrzej Wadja opens in the spring of 1794. The Reign of Terror is reaching its crescendo. Éléonore Duplay, the landlady and probably lover of Maximilian Robespierre is teaching her nephew the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Robespierre himself is sick in bed. Outside, […]

Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

Is censorship, or the threat of censorship, always bad for art? Or does the threat of censorship force the artist to become better at what he does, more subtle, and, in the case of political art, less crudely propagandistic. Ashes and Diamonds, Andrzej Wajda’s third feature length film, was made in 1958, shortly after Stalin’s […]

Kanal (1956)

On August 1st of 1944, as the Soviet Army approached the outskirts of Warsaw, the Polish resistance rose up against the German occupation. Since the Germans had recently been dealt a crushing defeat by Marshall Zhukov’s troops in Belorussia, Operation Tempest — the plan by which the London based Polish Home Army would seize control […]