Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Andrzej Wajda Margaret Thatcher Center present Katyn
Junio 3 2010
Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom
Cordially Invites You
A Screening of the Oscar-nominated Film
Featuring Introductory Remarks by
Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy, The Heritage Foundation
Lee Edwards, Ph.D.
Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, The Heritage Foundation
Andrzej Wajda - Invited
Director, Katyn ( 2007 )
On August 24, 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German Foreign
Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop signed the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
dividing Europe into Soviet and German spheres of influence. By that October,
the Soviets occupied Polish territory and had taken prisoner thousands of Polish military
officers, soldiers, police and intellectuals. When German troops moved eastward in 1943,
they discovered the mass graves of 20,000 murdered Polish prisoners in the Katyn Forest.
Andrzej Wajda's Oscar-nominated film is a searing depiction of the Soviet atrocity. Wajda's
Katyn illustrates the bonds of family, the search for the truth, and the crucial importance of
remembering the past. Katyn was also produced under the honorary patronage of the recently
deceased President Lech Kaczyński and his wife, Maria Kaczyńska, who died tragically on their
way to commemorate Katyn. Please join The Heritage Foundation in honoring their leadership
as well as the victims of Katyn.
Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE | Washington, DC 20002 | (202) 546-4400
RSVP Online at http://www.heritage.org/Press/Events/ ; | or call (202) 675-1752
Terms and Conditions of Attendance are posted online at www.heritage.org/Press/Events/terms.cfm
News media inquiries, please call (202) 675-1761
Born 6 March 1926
Andrzej Wajda (Polish pronunciation: [ˈandʐɛj ˈvajda]; born 6 March 1926) is a Polish film director. Recipient of an honorary Oscar, he is possibly the most prominent member of the unofficial "Polish Film School" (active circa 1955 to 1963). He is known especially for a trilogy of war films: A Generation (1954), Kanał (1956) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958).
He is currently listed as the 97th greatest director of all-time by film website They Shoot Pictures Don't They,[dead link]with four of his movies nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Promised Land (1975), The Maids of Wilko (1979), Man of Iron (1981), and Katyń (2007).
Andrzej Wajda is the son of a Polish cavalry officer murdered by the Soviets in 1940 in what came to be known as the Katyn massacre. After the war, he studied to be a painter at Kraków's Academy of Fine Arts before entering the Łódź Film School.
After his apprenticeship to director Aleksander Ford, Wajda was given the opportunity to direct his own film. With A Generation (1955), the first-time director poured out his disillusionment over jingoism, using as his alter ego a young, James Dean-style antihero played by Zbigniew Cybulski, 20-year-old Roman Polanski also featured. At the same time Andrzej Wajda began his work as a director in theatre, including some fantastic spectacles, like Michael V. Gazzo's Hatful of Rain (1959), Hamlet (1960), Two On a Seesaw (1963) by William Gibson. Wajda made two more increasingly accomplished films, which developed further the anti-war theme of A Generation: Kanał (1956) [Silver Palm at Cannes Festival in 1957, ex equo with Bergman's The Seventh Seal and Ashes and Diamonds (1958), again with Cybulski.
While capable of turning out mainstream commercial fare (often dismissed as "trivial" by his critics), Wajda was more interested in works of allegory and symbolism, and certain symbols (such as setting fire to a glass of liquor, representing the flame of youthful idealism that was extinguished by the war) recur often in his films, the very characteristic of Wajda's symbolism is film Lotna (1959), full of surrealistic and symbolic scenes and shots but he managed to explore some other field of existence making new wave style Innocent Sorcerers (1960) with music by Krzysztof Komeda, starring Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski (who was also a co-script writer) in the episodes. Then Wajda directed Samson (1961), a moving story about Jacob, a Jewish boy, who wants to survive during the Nazi occupation of Poland. In the mid-1960s Wajda showed the world an epic film The Ashes (1965) based on the novel by Polish writer Stefan Żeromski and directed some films abroad: Love at Twenty (1962), Siberian Lady Macbeth (1962) or Gates To Paradise (1968).
In 1967, Cybulski was killed in a train accident, whereupon the director articulated his grief with what is considered one of his most personal films, which turned out to be a touching story (using techique "film in film") about film maker's life and work on movie Everything For Sale (1968) whis is now established and regarded as one of the few films on that subject along with Federico Fellini's "8½". The following year he directed an ironic satire Hunting Flies with the script written by Janusz Głowacki and a TV film based upon Stanisław Lem's short story "Roly Poly".
The 1970s were the most lucrative artistic period for Wajda,who has made over ten films, some of them became one of his finest works like Landscape After the Battle (1970), Pilat And others (1971), The Wedding (1972) - the film version of polish most famous poetic drama by Stanisław Wyspiański, The Promised Land (1974), Man of Marble (1976) - the film takes place in two time periods, the first film showing the episodes of Stalinism in Poland, The Shadow Line (1976), Rough treatment (the other title: Without Anesthesia) (1978), The Orchestra conductor (1980), starring John Gielgud; or two, very touching, psychological and existential films based upon novels by polish famous writer Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz - The Birch Wood (1970) and The Maids of Wilko (1979).
Wajda continued to work in theatre where he has made his best spectacles, including Play Strindberg, Dostoyevsky's The Possessed and Nastasja Filippovna - the Wajda's version of The Idiot, November Night by Wyspiański, The Immigrants by Sławomir Mrożek, The Danton Affair or The Dreams of Reason.
Wajda's later commitment to Poland's burgeoning Solidarity movement was manifested with Man of Iron (1981), a sort of thematic sequel to The Man of Marble, with Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa appearing as himself in the latter film. The director's involvement in this movement would prompt the Polish government to force Wajda's production company out of business. For the film, Wajda won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1983 he directed Danton, starring Gérard Depardieu in the title role, a film set in 1794 (Year Two) dealing with the Post-Revolutionary Terror. Wajda showed how easy revolution can change into terror and starts to "eat its own children". For this film Wajda was honoured by receiving very prestigious Louis Delluc Award, he also gained a couple of Cesare Awards. In the 1980s he also made some important films like A Love in Germany (1983) featuring Hanna Schygulla, The Chronicle of Amorous Incidents (1986) an adaptation of Tadeusz Konwicki's novel and The Possessed (1988) based on Dostoyevsky's novel, in which it is shown how terrorism begins. In theatre he prepared a very famous interpretation of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (1984) and other unique spectacles such as Antygone, his sequential Hamlet versions or an old Jewish play The Dybbuk.