At the age of 87, the legendary Polish director Andrzej Wajda returns with a biographical film about one of the most controversial figures in recent Polish history and co-founder of Solidarność, the first trade-union organization managed by the Soviet Bloc. Walesa: Man of Hope, presented at the Biografilm Festival 2014, is clearly the work of someone who has often entered into the kingdom of media battles to talk about Poland, its political changes, and its famous founders.
By means of an interview by journalist Oriana Fallaci, interpreted by Maria Rosaria Omaggio, intent upon discovering if Walesa was the right man to lead the working class struggle in communist Poland in the 80s, the director offers an intimate portrait of a man who, without any particular charisma, was able to firstly become the organizer of a strike in a shipyard and then a symbol of hope.
The full-color reconstructions of the leader’s private life, characterized by his relationship with his wife Danuta, merge with images of the repertoire of Walesa politics, the difficult economic condition that Poland experienced at the time, where a vast majority of the population died of starvation, the violent repression of Jaruzelski’s regime and the fundamental support of Polish Pope John Paul II.
The film has a bit of everything. Apart from a selection of Polish punk songs meant to cement the atmosphere of a country on the brink of a rebellion on a vast scale, the brilliant interpretation of Robert Więckiewicz, in the role of Walesa, tries to give back prestige to the figure of a man who with all of his defects, “in a hundred years time there will be a monument to Lech Walesa in every city in the country,” stated the ex-leader of Solidarność one day. He remains a fundamental figure for his role in the fall of communism.
And even if the story of Wajda ended in 1989, which means that the painful revisions of the myth of solidarity in 1990 would be totally omitted, Lech Walesa once again presents himself in the current crisis in Ukraine as a potential mediator between the states in order to avoid a civil war. “The only way to prevent Putin from taking Crimea is a struggle in solidarity; we will be more united and we will convince them more,” insists a man who has always understood that negotiating is better than blackmailing
Production: Akson Studio
Distribution: World Sales
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