Andrzej Wajda

"Wajda’s work reveals many forms and many layers. Over time, historical films alternate with films on contemporary subjects; films with a broad social sweep alternate with films that concentrate on intimate human experiences. Wajda is conscious of these alternations. From history he returns to contemporaneity, so as not to lose contact with the times and with his audience." - Blažena Urgošiková (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)

Andrzej Wajda

Director / Screenwriter
(1926-2016) Born March 6, Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Poland, France
Key Genres: Drama, War Drama, Political Drama, Period Film, Psychological Drama, War, Historical Film, Resistance Film
Key Collaborators: Halina Prugar-Ketling (Editor), Daniel Olbrychski (Leading Actor), Edward Klosinski (Cinematographer), Allan Starski (Production Designer), Krystyna Janda (Leading Actress), Tadeusz Janczar (Leading Actor), Aleksander Scibor-Rylski (Screenwriter), Witold Sobocinski (Cinematographer), Jerzy Lipman (Cinematographer), Halina Nawrocka (Editor), Wojciech Pszoniak (Leading Character Actor), Andrzej Seweryn (Leading Character Actor)

"This Polish director is a man for the moment. Without sadness and anger, his films often count for little, but no-one was more skilled at bringing home the painfulness in the plight of Poland in both World War II and the post-war years - often to the consternation of authorities. Wajda sees the Poles as a people trapped, ultimately with no escape. This sense of entrapment occurs often throughout his films, whether physically (most often) or metaphorically." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"Wajda has repeatedly used defining moments in Polish history - his trilogy of A Generation, Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds concerned the Nazi occupation and its immediate aftermath - to question traditional notions of national heroism, identity and ideology, while his style has steadily become more poetic, even to the point of excess." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Arguably Poland's finest director, Andrzej Wajda has crafted films that crackled with historical significance and zeitgeist urgency, and he's often seemed as much a war reporter, social commentator or sly satirist as a maker of fictions... With an enviable dexterity, the director has worked in different genres throughout his long and controversial career. Each diverse work bears the Wajda imprimatur of a trained artist's visual eloquence." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"A maker of unrelenting dramas of the effects of war. Wajda lensed some extremely stark films early in his career (Kanal, 57; Ashes and Diamonds, 57). Later he turned to different subjects." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Together with Andrzej Munk, the best Polish film maker of his generation. After studying at the film school at Lodz, he assisted Aleksander Ford on Five Boys from Barska Street (53) and revealed his sincerity, forceful style, and typical preoccupation with social issues and heroism in his first feature, A Generation." - Georges Sadoul (Dictionary of Film Makers, 1972)
"Poland's leading filmmaker and one of the major figures in postwar East European cinema... In the late 70s his films became known for their reflection of his country's political unrest. Man of Marble (1977) and Without Anesthesia (1979) studied Poland's turmoil from the viewpoint of individuals ruined by the country's widespread oppression." - The Film Encyclopedia, 2012
"One of Eastern Europe's - and the world's - most important directors, Wajda has chronicled the political and social changes of his native Poland with sensitivity, passion, and a refusal to pull punches. Wajda joined the Polish resistance as a teenager during World War 2, then studied painting, and eventually went to Poland's State Film School at Lodz." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, 1995
"By far the best-known film director working in Poland, Andrzej Wajda has achieved the status, both in his life and his work, of a symbol for his beleaguered country... In addition to adapting literary works to the screen, Wajda has consistently drawn on Polish history for material suited to his tragic senseibility - from the fate of lancers serving under Napoleon in Ashes (1965) to the harsh industrialization of Lodz in Land of Promise (1975)." - Lenny Rubenstein (The Virgin International Encyclopedia of Film, 1992)
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Kanal (1956), The Promised Land (1974), Man of Marble (1977), Katyn (2007)
Worth a Look
A Generation (1954), Ashes and Diamonds (1958) , Love at Twenty (1962) [also directed by Shintaro Ishihara, Marcel Ophüls, Renzo Rossellini & François Truffaut], The Ashes (1965), Everything for Sale (1968), Landscape After Battle (1970), Wesele (1972), Without Anesthesia (1978), Man of Iron (1980), Danton (1982)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Andrzej Wajda / Favourite Films
The Asphalt Jungle (1950) John Huston, Bad Luck (1960) Andrzej Munk, Breathless (1960) Jean-Luc Godard, Un Chien andalou (1928) Luis Buñuel, Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, Earth (1930) Alexander Dovzhenko, Outskirts (1933) Boris Barnet, Paisan (1946) Roberto Rossellini, The Silence (1963) Ingmar Bergman, La Strada (1954) Federico Fellini, Throne of Blood (1957) Akira Kurosawa, The Tin Drum (1979) Volker Schlöndorff.
Source: Kommersant (1998)
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Films / Books
    Man of Iron
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