Man of Marble

  • Dir: Andrzej Wajda

  • Poland, 1977, 165min

  • Cast: Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Tadeusz Lomnicki

A masterpiece made during Poland’s brief political thaw in the late 1970s, Andrzej Wajda’s epic film on the rise and fall of Stakhanovite bricklayer Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) carries the weight of modern Polish history within its Citizen Kane -like narrative. Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda) is a film student attempting to make her thesis film on a laborer who briefly became the heroic symbol in Stalinist propaganda (as seen in the archival footage of Nowa Huta, the 1950s’ “ideal” industrial town) before falling into mysterious obscurity. Man of Marble ’s film-within-a-film commentary on censorship is apt: Wajda’s script languished for fourteen years before he was able to make the film, one which soon anticipated the rise of Poland’s Solidarity Movement.


1978 Cannes Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize



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