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Förening Film i Malmö presents
MAN OF IRON
Dir. Andrzej Wadja
polish w. english subtitles
Starring Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Marian Opania
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in the period, through his status as one of the most respected Polish filmmakers of the post-war era and as a prominent supporter of Solidarity. Man Of Iron, made while the movement was at its height (and featuring a cameo by its leader, Lech Walesa) vividly conveys the immediacy and the passion of those dramatic times.
It won the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 1981 – but it caused Wajda to become persona non grata with the regime. His production company was forced out of business and martial law was introduced later that year to crack down on the protesters.
So Man Of Iron is a crucial historical document, but it’s also a great film. Angry, poetic, humane and moving; a political drama and a love story; a study of both idealism and compromise with a raft of stunning images and striking performances.
The central character is Winkel, (Marian Opania), a former radical journalist now working for state-controlled Polish television. He is selected by the party hierarchy to travel to Gdansk on the pretext of making a documentary about Maciej Tomczyk (Jerzy Radziwilowicz), one of the Solidarity leaders at the shipyard, but in fact to wheedle his way into the movement’s confidence and then find some dirt on Maciej, to be used in a propaganda broadcast.
He is chosen because of his reporting of an earlier shipyard dispute in the early Seventies, which led to the death of Maciej’s father. The film is, in fact, a sequel to Wajda’s 1976 masterpiece Man Of Marble, which focused on these earlier events (and makes Man Of Iron the only sequel ever to win the Palme D’Or, trivia fans).Courtesy of Jeff Robson at Eye for Film