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Man of Marble (Czlowiek z marmuru)

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Monday, Sep 1, 2008
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Man of Marble1976, Poland, Andrzej Wajda

Wajda explores the world of propaganda film, the glorification of the worker, and the reality that lies behind it. Birkut (played with total conviction by Jerzy Radzwilowicz) is built up as a worker’s hero in Stalinist Poland because a person making a film wants to prove, for propaganda purposes, that Birkut can lay more bricks than anyone else, and so he is challenged to reach a new record figure. Many years later, a young film student, Agnieszka, played with just the right mix of idealism and strong-headedness by the great Krystyna Janda, is puzzled why Birkut should have fallen from favour with the authorities, and starts to uncover a can of worms turned into a nest of vipers by corruption, propaganda, and the Communist system. Wajda here is at his most openly critical of totalitarianism, and when the film first came out to rave reviews, he was admired for the bravery of his vision. A must for anyone trying to understand what living under Eastern bloc Communism was really like, and a gripping story too, with some shocking moments. This is the reason why many Poles don’t want to watch the movie any more – ironically, the highest compliment that can be given. It is too close to the truth that many people in this now thoroughly Westernised country would rather forget.

For more details, see tt0075902 on The Internet Movie Database.

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