Wajda Making Movie About Wałęsa
December 21, 2011
Legendary Polish film director Andrzej Wajda is making a movie about an even more legendary figure, former Solidarity trade union leader and president Lech Wałęsa.
“This is the most difficult movie in my life,” Wajda, who won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2000, said at a news conference before shooting began.
The film, entitled Wałęsa, is a biographical production about the man who helped found and led the Solidarity trade union at the Gdańsk Shipyard in 1980, went on to win the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize and finally became Polish president in 1990-1995.
The film will feature archival materials to help “give testimony to the truth,” as Wajda put it. The director said that in the 1980s Polish cinema did a lot to document the events of that crucial period in recent Polish history, culminating in the collapse of communism in this country in 1989.
Shooting got under way Dec. 1. The film is being made on location in Gdańsk, including in the historic shipyard and its surroundings, as well as in Warsaw. Robert Więckiewicz, one of Poland’s best known actors, will don a fake mustache to play Wałęsa, while Agnieszka Grochowska plays the Solidarity leader’s wife, Danuta. The script is by renowned writer Janusz Głowacki, who told the news conference that the story stops short of “building Wałęsa a monument.” Instead it shows him as a man of flesh and blood, a leader of great strength but also someone who has his weaknesses. The cinematography is by Paweł Edelman, an Oscar nominee for Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.
The production is expected to cost zl.19 million. The executive producer of the film is Akson Studio, with Canal+ as co-producer. The two-hour movie is due for release in the fall of 2012, probably on Wałęsa’s birthday, Sept. 29.