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  • Andrzej Witold Wajda

Thursday Nights at the Cinematheque

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Andrzej Witold Wajda Andrzej Witold Wajda (6 March 1926 – 9 October 2016) was a Polish film and theatre director. Recipient of an Honorary Oscar, the Palme d'Or, as well as Honorary Golden Lion and Golden Bear Awards, he was a prominent member of the "Polish Film School." He was known especially for his trilogy of war films consisting of A Generation (1954), Kanał (1956) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958).

He is considered one of the world's most renowned filmmakers whose works chronicled his native country's political and social evolution and dealt with the myths of Polish national identity offering insightful analyses of the universal element of the Polish experience - the struggle to maintain dignity under the most trying circumstances.

Four of his films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Promised Land (1975), The Maids of Wilko (1979), Man of Iron (1981) and Katyń (2007). [Wikipedia.com]


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Charlie Chaplin with movie camera.  Announcement that screenings are open to the public and that admission is free.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 7PM

A Generation poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

A Generation (Pokolenie)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1955), 83 mins.

Stach is a wayward teen living in squalor on the outskirts of Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Guided by an avuncular Communist organizer, he is introduced to the underground resistance—and to the beautiful Dorota. Soon he is engaged in dangerous efforts to fight oppression and indignity, maturing as he assumes responsibility for others’ lives. A coming-of-age story of survival and shattering loss, A Generation delivers a brutal portrait of the human cost of war. [Criterion Collection]

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Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 7PM

Kanal poster
Andrzej Wajda  Retrospective

Kanal (Kanał)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1956), 95 mins. 

“Watch them closely, for these are the last hours of their lives,” announces a narrator, foretelling the tragedy that unfolds as a war-ravaged company of Home Army resistance fighters tries to escape the Nazi onslaught through the sewers of Warsaw. Determined to survive, the men and women slog through the hellish labyrinth, piercing the darkness with the strength of their individual spirits. Based on true events, Kanal was the first film ever made about the Warsaw Uprising and brought director Andrzej Wajda to the attention of international audiences, earning the Special Jury Prize in Cannes in 1957. [Criterion Collection] red separator line

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 7PM

Ashes and Diamonds poster. Man holding a machine gun.
Andrzej Wajda  Retrospective

Ashes and Diamonds (Popiół i diament)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1958), 99 mins.

On the last day of World War II in a small town somewhere in Poland, Polish exiles of war and the occupying Soviet forces confront the beginning of a new day and a new Poland. In this incendiary environment we find Home Army soldier Maciek Chelmicki, who has been ordered to assassinate an incoming commissar. But a mistake stalls his progress and leads him to Krystyna, a beautiful barmaid who gives him a glimpse of what his life could be. Gorgeously photographed and brilliantly performed, Ashes and Diamonds masterfully interweaves the fate of a nation with that of one man, resulting in one of the most important Polish films of all time. [Criterion Collection]

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Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 7PM

Innocent Sorcerers


Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Innocent Sorcerers (Niewinni czarodzieje)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1960), 84 mins. 

A young doctor is tired of being sought by women. One night he meets a young girl who all but forces herself into his room where they talk of morals and love. But he loses her when he goes out to see some friends and then rushes madly around the city after her. [Polish Cinema Database]

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Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7PM

The Ashes poster
Andrzej Wajda 
Retrospective

The Ashes (Popioły

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1965), 227 mins

In 19th-century Poland, young nobleman Rafal Olbromski (Daniel Olbrychski) grows up amid slavery, poverty and fractures between classes. He also witnesses the death by duel of his brother, after which he joins the military and begins fighting under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte (Janusz Zakrzenski). As Olbromski rises to general, the Polish legion carries out numerous violent, sometimes excessively brutal, sieges, all in the hopes of gaining freedom for their oppressed homeland.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 7PM

Everything for Sale DVD cover
Andrzej Wajda  Retrospective

Everything for Sale (Wszystko na sprzedaż

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1968), 99 mins

Inspired by the tragic death of the great Polish actor Zbigniew Cybulski, this Andrzej Wajda film focuses on the behind-the-scenes lives of a director and his actors when they are disrupted by the mysterious murder of their leading man. [polartcenter.com]

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 7PM

The Promised Land dvd cover
Andrzej Wajda  Retrospective

The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1974), 169 mins

When ambitious Polish aristocrat Karol Borowiecki (Daniel Olbrychski) decides to open his own textile factory, he recruits two enterprising friends, Jewish businessman Moryc Welt (Wojciech Pszoniak) and German industrial heir Maks Baum (Andrzej Seweryn), to begin the new venture. Unfortunately, Karol's affair with Lucy Zuckerowa (Kalina Jedrusik), the wife of a business rival, threatens to derail the trio's attempts at establishing their own company.

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Friday, March 15, 2018 - 7 PM

Man of Marble poster. Actor being filmed by cameraman.
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Man of Marble (Człowiek z marmuru

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1976), 154 mins

In repressive mid-1970s Poland, documentary filmmaker Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda) begins work on a film about Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwilowicz), a bricklayer who had briefly been hailed as a hero of the proletariat in the 1950s, but then disappeared into obscurity. In piecing together details about the bricklayer's mysterious life, she discovers that his involvement in organized labor had been viewed negatively by party bosses, and that her own investigations could put her in danger.red separator line

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 7PM

Rough Treatment poster
Andrzej Wajda  Retrospective

Rough Treatment, aka Without Anesthesia (Bez znieczulenia)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1978), 111 mins

A famous Polish journalist presents a problem for the powers-that-be when he displays his full political skill and knowledge on a television show featuring questions and answers on a world conference by a panel of journalists. His enemies take away his privileges when he is away. The shock of being "unwanted" parallels a deeper disappointment in his private life: his wife has an affair with a jealous young rival, and after 15 years of marriage and two daughters wants a divorce. She offers no explanations as he tries to untie these problems himself. All the moves he makes are the wrong ones. He takes on drinking heavily with students eager to attend his seminar after discovering the class has been canceled. The journalist, once suave and commanding is reduced to silence.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 7PM

The Maids of Wilko poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

The Maids of Wilko (Panny z Wilka)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1979),112 mins

Wiktor (Daniel Olbrychski), a veteran of World War I, finds himself sad and disaffected in the city after the death of a close friend. To reinvigorate himself, he decides to go to the country estate of his aunt and uncle, where he used to spend summers in his youth. There, he becomes reacquainted with several women he romanced at one time or another. Most, like lonely Jola (Maja Komorowska), have landed in unhappy marriages, and Wiktor's presence stirs up buried emotions and memories.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 7PM

Man of Iron poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1981), 147 mins

In the sequel to Polish dissident filmmaker Andrzej Wajda's "Man of Marble," alcoholic television reporter Winkiel (Marian Opania) is assigned by Communist Party bosses the task of discrediting the Gdansk shipyard strikers, particularly charismatic worker Tomczyk (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) and his politically detained filmmaker wife, Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda). The film is set against Poland's emergent Solidarity labor movement, and includes scenes filmed during actual labor strikes.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 7PM

Danton poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Danton

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1982), 130 mins

This French film from a Polish director explores a famous friendship soured by politics and corruption. Georges Danton (Gérard Depardieu) and Maximilien Robespierre (Wojciech Pszoniak) fought side by side during the French Revolution. But when Danton takes control of France and starts executing citizens in droves, Robespierre feels it his duty to challenge his one-time comrade. Robespierre goes to Paris to remove his old friend from power, but Danton will not go down without a fight.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 7PM

A Chronicle of Amorous Accidents dvd cover
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

A Chronicle of Amorous Accidents (Kronika wypadków miłosnych)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1986), 116 mins

Set in the summer months preceding the September 1939 outbreak of World War II in Polish part of Lithuania. A young highschool lad, Witek, is hoping to pass the entrance exams to the university. His love interest is Alina, his high-school colleague. [Polish Cinema Database]

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Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 7PM

Katyn posterAndrzej Wajda Retrospective

Katyń

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 2007) ,83 mins

An examination of the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers and citizens in the Katyn forest in 1940. [IMDB.com]

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Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 7 PM

Sweet Rush poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Sweet Rush (Tatarak)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 2009), 83 mins

In small-town Poland in the late 1950s, an aging woman married to a workaholic doctor meets a young man who makes her feel young again. Framed around this story, lead actress Krystyna Janda discusses the death of her husband from cancer. [IMDB.com]

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Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 7PM

Afterimage poster
Andrzej Wajda Retrospective

Afterimage (Powidoki)

(dir. Andrzej Wajda, 2006), 98 mins. 

The story of charismatic painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who opposed social realism and maintained his own artistic freedom in spite of political obstacles. [IMDB.com]

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