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Andrzej Wajda - Oscar-Awarded Director

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Andrzej Wajda, the world-famous Polish film director, theatre director and scriptwriter, was born on March 6, 1926 in Suwalki. He is one of the prominent figures of the Central Europe cinematography. Wajda is widely known as a chronicler of Polish history, especially of the political and social situation of Poles brought about by World War II, Nasizm and Communism. These historical periods, presented in an uncompromising and sensitive way, have become the theme subject of majority of his films. Lots of his films were also based on Polish and world literature classics like e.g. ''Ashes'', ''The Gates to Paradise'', ''The Wedding'', ''The Shadow Line', ''The Possessed'', ''Miss Nothing'', ''Pan Tadeusz'', ''Revenge'' most of which has become his top cinema achievements.

Andrzej Wajda LodzThe beginning of his film career is connected with Lodz. It is here that he studied at the Directing Department of the Leon Schiller National Film, Television and Theatre School after education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. Wajda's debut movie was ''Generation'', for which he received the Polish State Award (1955). However, the films which won him international acclaim as a leading European new generation director and an initiator of the famous Polish School of Filmmaking were ''Canal'' and ''Ashes and Diamonds''. The former was granted the Special Jury Award at the Cannes International Festival (1957), whereas the latter received the Jury and FIPRESCI Award at the International Film Festival in Venice (1959).

Lodz was not only Wajda's alma mater but also became the subject and setting of one of his films. In the movie Wajda perfectly portrayed both the three protagonists and the 19-century thriving city of Lodz. The film, based on Wladyslaw Reymont's ''The Promised Land'', was nominated for an Oscar. The highest artistic merits of this movie were reflected in the awards the film received in 1978. These were as follows: the Jury Award and Best Director Award at the International Film Festival at Cartagena, Columbia, and the Jury Award at the International Neorealist Film Festival at Avelino, Italy.

Another film which brought an Oscar nomination to Wajda was ''The Maids from Wilko'', a magnificent screening of Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz's prose. Though Wajda is mainly associated with film directing, he has been a successful theatre director. His best known plays include Strindberg's ''Miss Julia'' and Tadeusz Rozewicz's ''Wroclaw Improvisation''.

Wajda's interest in the evolution of Polish history from the Communist regime to the anti-Communist Solidarity movement is best manifested in his ''Man of Marble'', set in the 1950s, and its sequel ''Man of Iron'', set in the memorable August of 1980. The latter won him the 1981 Palme d'Or and Ecumenical Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Of all his numerous awards and distinctions granted at Polish and International Film Festivals, the most valuable one is the 2000 Honorary Academy Award. The Oscar statuette, the Cannes Palme d'Or and the Venice Golden Lion can be seen at the Museum of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Wajda also holds the honorary titles of Doctor Honoris Causa of world-recognized universities in Poland and abroad.

 

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