Walesa. Man of Hope

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Walesa. Man of Hope
Wałęsa filmmaking (1).JPG
Robert Więckiewicz as Lech Wałęsa
Directed by Andrzej Wajda[1]
Produced by Michał Kwieciński
Screenplay by Janusz Głowacki
Story by Janusz Głowacki[2]
Starring Robert Więckiewicz
Agnieszka Grochowska
Music by Paweł Mykietyn
Cinematography Paweł Edelman
Edited by Milenia Fiedler
Production
company
Akson Studio[3]
Canal +
Release dates
  • 5 September 2013 (2013-09-05) (Venice)[4]
  • 8 October 2013 (2013-10-08) (Poland)
Country Poland
Language Polish
Budget 3.5 million €[5]

Walesa. Man of Hope (Polish: Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei) (Polish pronunciation: [vaˈwɛ̃sa]) is a 2013 biopic directed by Andrzej Wajda, starring Robert Więckiewicz as Lech Wałęsa. Wajda stated at Kraków, Poland's Off Plus Camera Film Festival in April 2012 that he foresaw trouble following the film's release.[6] The film was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[7] but was not nominated.

Synopsis[edit]

Wałęsa, an electrician at the Gdańsk Shipyards, participated in local demonstrations during the 1970s.[8] Following the bloody aftermath, which remains with Wałęsa, he concentrates on his day-to-day duties. Ten years later, a new uprising occurs and he becomes an unexpected and charismatic leader of Polish dockworkers.[9]

Wałęsa's leadership role signified the beginning of a new movement that successfully overcame the communist regime of the period, and Wałęsa is pushed into representing the majority of Poland's population. The Soviet Union, previously regarded as too powerful to confront, eventually grants the movement a degree of acceptance. The Polish example of solidarity then caused a domino effect throughout Eastern Europe: people in Eastern Germany followed the Polish example, starting demonstrations for freedom that achieved the German reunification peacefully. The Soviet Union then dissolved alongside Yugoslavia.

While Europe is reshaped, Poland remains stable and peaceful. Yet a huge variety of political parties unfolds and Poland is on the brink of becoming as ungovernable as the late Weimar Republic. Wałęsa is subsequently elected as the first president of the new Polish democracy; but, this is followed by feelings of resentment among the Polish people who start to think that Wałęsa is becoming privileged.[2] Consequently, the Polish people start to seek out ways to diminish Wałęsa's significance, until they finally accomplish their goal through uncovering actions from a past period.

Background[edit]

In April 2011, Wajda said to The Guardian that he intended to make a film to "shine new light on Lech Wałęsa",[10] while author Janusz Głowacki said the film "is not just going to be romanticism. There will be irony, too. Don't worry."[citation needed] Wajda also declared at a press conference that the Nobel laureate and former president of Poland had condoned the project.[11]

Wajda stated that he considered the film the most difficult professional challenge of his filmmaking career thus far.[12] However, he showed a realisation of the categorical imperative and quoted the famous slogan of Wałęsa, a personal friend: "Nie chcę, ale muszę" ("I don’t want to, but I have to").[13]

Monica Bellucci was considered for the role of Oriana Fallaci, but Maria Rosaria Omaggio was finally selected.[3]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Wajda announced his intention to blend real contemporary news material with the fictional content of the film[13] to "give testimony to the truth".[17] The contemporary footage was adapted by superimposing the face of Robert Więckiewicz on Wałęsa's real face.[18] The re-enacted scenes were shot "on location in Gdańsk, including in the historic shipyard and its surroundings, as well as in Warsaw".[17] As Wajda told the Chicago Tribune, the raison d'être of his work was not to entertain the Western world, but to disclose the historic truth for a Polish audience.[2]

Głowacki assured journalists that his script was not meant to be an apotheosis, but instead showed Wałęsa "as a man of flesh and blood, a leader of great strength but also someone who has his weaknesses".[17] The screenwriter was significantly affected upon discovering that Wajda sought to pursue the same approach and consequently "thought it would be an interesting project".[5]

In August 2012, a company known to financial experts as "Amber Gold" was considered as an investor for this film;[19] but, when the company was investigated, it withdrew from the production process.[20]

Release[edit]

The film was on the program of the 2014 edition of Thailand's EU Film Festival, shown in the cities of Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Alongside films such as the Spanish feature The Pelayos, the film was one of seven films that were shown in all three cities.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Director Andrzej Wajda begins shooting Lech Walesa film". CTV Television Network. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  2. ^ a b c "Helmer's solid look at Solidarity". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Grynienko, Katarzyna (27 November 2011). "PRODUCTION: Wajda to Go into Production with Walesa". Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  4. ^ ""Wałęsa" na festiwalu w Wenecji". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 25 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Hartwich, Dorota (1 December 2011). "Wajda starts shooting Lech Walesa biopic". Cineuropa. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Walesa biopic 'very difficult' says Wajda". Polskie Radio. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Roxborough, Scott (18 September 2013). "Oscars: Poland Nominates Andrzej Wajda's 'Walesa' in Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Gdansk hosts Walesa biopic". Polskie Radio. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Wałęsa. Man of hope". Akson Studio. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Borger, Julian (4 April 2011). "Andrzej Wajda film will shine new light on Lech Walesa". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Lech Walesa biopic begins filming". BBC Online. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Wajda To Make Walesa Biopic". 25 November 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Scislowska, Monika (24 November 2011). "Oscar-winning director starts film on Lech Walesa". The Washington Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Roxborough, Scott (14 November 2011). "Robert Wieckiewicz to Play Lech Walesa in Andrzej Wajda-Directed Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Cash creates star comity". Times Union. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Andrzej Wajda - Filming Begins On Lech Walesa Biopic". Contactmusic.com. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c "Wajda Making Movie About Wałęsa". The Warsaw Voice. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Czarnecka, Maja (31 January 2012). "Poland's anti-communist icon Walesa, at last the movie". Yahoo. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Civic Platform politician asked Amber Gold for money". freepl.info. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Walesa biopic will not have Amber Gold as investor". Polskie Radio. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  21. ^ "Showtimes EU Film Festival 2014". SFX Cinemas. SFX Cinemas. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 

External links[edit]