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Andrzej Wajda: a spiritual resistant in the communist world

Monday 10 October 2016, by SIGNIS

Brussels, October 10th, 2016 (SIGNIS). Today, the world learned the passing of Andrzej Wajda, a famous Polish director who was awarded by SIGNIS multiple times. His death was announced early this morning by his family. He was born the 6th of March 1926 in Suwałki (Poland).

Wajda received two Ecumenical Prizes at the Cannes Film festival, and one OCIC Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

In 1979, his film Bez znieczulenia (Rough Treatment) was awarded in Cannes for “its accuracy of social and psychological observation”. The jury said that “this film - with its excellent performances - invites people to understand and be faithful to life’s real values without easy concessions or sliding into conformity.”

Two years later, he was awarded again by the Ecumenical Jury, for his film Czlowickz zelaza (Man of Iron), which was “a powerful film which rises above the historic struggle of an entire nation to highlight the universal aspirations of man”.

In 1980, the OCIC Jury wanted to underline “the universal character of a work which is deeply impregnated with humanism - a work in which the aspirations, urges, contradictions, difficulties and realities of the life of contemporary man are analysed with intelligence, pertinence, delicacy and sensitivity.” Dyrygent (The Conductor) shows “a man too often confronted by omnipresent materialism or a victim of the mirages of the consumer society and personal success which could, however, in no way hide his existential anguish.”

Wajda belonged to that generation of Polish filmmakers who made clear to the world that there was a spiritual resistance possible in the communist world. With his films, he contributed to the culture of political change in Poland and, when he received the OCIC award, he considered it as a support of the catholic world outside Poland.

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