Andrzej Wajda celebrates his 86th birthday
As Andrzej Wajda, Poland’s most prominent film maker, celebrated his birthday on Tuesday 6 March, learn more about his background and enthralling, award-winning work by watching him recount events from his fascinating life.
Born in 1926, Andrzej Wajda is an Academy Award-winning director, best known for his films The Promised Land (1975), Man of Iron (1981) and Katyn (2007). His films showed the horror of the German occupation of Poland, establishing Wajda’s reputation as a story-teller and commentator on Poland’s turbulent history. In addition to his impressive career in TV and film, he was elected as Senator of the Republic of Poland from 1989 to 1991.
In this series of truly captivating clips, Wajda shares his vivid memories of the Second World War and the effect it had on him and his family:
‘I felt my life beginning in the face of a reality that appeared so suddenly and so violently. My father had gone away a few weeks earlier to fight in the war and I never saw him again.’
Despite making films about life in Poland during the Second World War, he was initially wary of becoming too political himself. ‘If you’re making a political film, you need to keep your distance from politics and especially from politicians. Because if, while I’d been making films like Kanal or Ashes and Diamonds, I’d tried to establish some kind of political background. I would not have survived as a film director.’
He also tells of the difficult decision to make Katyn in 2007:
‘The difficulty lies in the fact that it’s an event which exists on many levels and there are so many threads to the story all intertwined with each other that it’s very difficult to write a screenplay which would embrace the whole spectrum of these events.
It’s interesting that Polish literature, which has represented every significant historical event, has not dealt with this one.
There isn’t a single story or narrative that could be made into a film. Katyn simply doesn’t exist’
All of Wajda’ compelling recordings can be watched as a number of short clips ranging in length between just seconds and several minutes with a fully searchable transcript.
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