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Andrzej Wajda

Andrzej Witold Wajda 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).

Background

  • Wajda was born in Suwałki, Poland, the son of Aniela (née Białowąs), a school teacher, and Jakub Wajda, an army officer. Wajda's father was murdered by the Soviets in 1940 in what came to be known as the Katyn massacre.

  • Education

    • In 1942 he joined the Polish resistance and served in the Home Army. After the war, he studied to be a painter at Kraków's Academy of Fine Arts before entering the Łódź Film School.

    Career

    • Wajda became interested in the visual arts when working as assistant to a restorer of old church paintings in Radom, Poland. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (1946–49; now Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts) and then film directing at the Łódź Film School (1949–53). His debut feature, Pokolenie (1955; A Generation), together with Kanał (1957; “Canal”) and Popiół i diament (1958; Ashes and Diamonds), constituted a popular trilogy that is considered to have launched the Polish film school. The movies deal in symbolic imagery with sweeping social and political changes in Poland during the World War II-era German occupation, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the immediate postwar years. They won Wajda significant attention, including prizes at international film festivals, and Popiół i diament, which was based on a Jerzy Andrzejewski novel, became especially renowned. Its lead actor, Zbigniew Cybulski, became famous for his portrayal of a young man whose idealism survives the humiliation and defeat of the occupation and the deaths of friends and the woman he loves.

      With such films as Popioły (1965; The Ashes), Brzezina (1970; The Birch Wood), Wesele (1973; The Wedding), Ziemia obiecana (1975; The Promised Land), Panny z Wilka (1979; The Young Girls of Wilko), and Danton (1983), Wajda established himself as a skilled director of film adaptations of literature that present conflicts inherent in the human situation and that also examine Polish national myths. He engaged with contemporary issues in films such as Wszystko na sprzedaż (1969; Everything for Sale), Człowiek z marmuru (1977; Man of Marble), Bez znieczulenia (1978; Without Anesthetic, or Rough Treatment), and Człowiek z żelaza (1981; Man of Iron). The latter, which was regarded as a manifesto against the ruling communist party in Poland and in support of the Solidarity opposition movement, won the Cannes film festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

      The highly acclaimed Korczak (1990) is a true story of the final days of Henryk Goldszmit (better known by his pen name Janusz Korczak), a Jewish doctor, writer, and child advocate who, in order to maintain his orphanage, refused to escape Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. Wajda’s other films include Nastasja (1994); Pan Tadeusz (1999), which is based on Adam Mickiewicz’s epic poem of the same name; Zemsta (2002; The Revenge), which starred Roman Polanski; Katyń (2007), about the Katyn Massacre in 1940 that claimed Wajda’s father’s life; Tatarak (2009; Sweet Rush), a meditation on death that combined elements of fact and fiction; and Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (2013; Wałęsa: Man of Hope), about the Solidarity leader. In 1996 Wajda received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for theatre/film, and he received an honorary Academy Award in 2000.

    Works

    Membership

    Member of Polish Film Association (president since 1978), Union Polish Arts and Designers (honorary).

    Connections

    • Wajda was married four times. His third wife was actress Beata Tyszkiewicz with whom he had a daughter, Karolina (born 1967). His fourth wife was the theatre costume designer and actress Krystyna Zachwatowicz.
    • father: Jakub Wajda
    • mother: Aniela Wajda
    • spouses: Beata Tyszkiewicz
    • Krystyna Zachwatowicz
    • Zofia Żuchowska
    • Gabriela Obremba
    Andrzej Wajda
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    Born March 6, 1926
    Died October 9, 2016
    (aged 90)
    Nationality
    Ethnicity:
    • 1942
      Kraków's Academy of Fine Arts
      Poland
    • 1951 - 2016
      Film director, producer, screenwriter
      Warsaw, Poland
    • 1953
      Assistant staff manager
      Warsaw, Poland
    • 1973
      Stage manager, Teatr Stary
      Krakowa, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland

    Contributor  

    Elizaveta Chadovich

    last changed 06/06/2017 view changes
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      • film and theatrical director
      • THEATRICAL DIRECTOR
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      • Director: (films, in Polish) Generation, 1954, I'm Going to the Sun, 1955, Canal, 1956, Ashes and Diamonds, 1957, Lotna, 1959, Innocent Sorcerers, 1959, Samson, 1960, Servian Lady Macbeth, 1961, Love at 20, 1961, Ashes, 1965, Gates of Paradise, 1967, Everything for Sale, 1968. (television series, in Polish) Jigsaw Puzzle, Hunting Flies, 1969, Landscape after Battle, 1970, The Birch Wood, 1970, Pilatus (television), 1971, Master and Margaret (West German television), 1972, Wedding, 1972, The Promised Land, 1975, The Shadow Line, 1976, Death Class, 1965, Man of Marble, 1977, Rough Treatment (United Kingdom), 1978, Maids of Wilko, 1979, Orchestral Conductor, 1979, Man of Iron, 1981, Danton, 1982, Love in Germany, 1985, Chronicle of Love Affairs, 1985, Doctor Korczak, 1989, The Ring with Crowned Eagle, 1992, Nastazia, 1994, Holy Week, 1995, Miss Nobody, 1996, (plays) Hatful of Rain, 1959, Hamlet, 1960, 1980, Two on the Seesaw, 1960, Wesele, 1962, The Demons, 1963, Play Strindberg, 1969, The Devils, 1961, Sticks and Bones, 1972, Der Mittmacher, 1973, November Night, 1974, The Danton Affairs, 1975, The Demons, 1964, Idiot, 1975, When Reason Sleeps, 1976, The Emigrants, 1976, Conversation with the Executioner, 1977, The Danton's Affair, 1978, Down the Years, Down the Days, 1979, Antygone, 1984, Crime and Punishment, 1984, Miss Julia, 1988, Hamlet IV, 1989, Two on a Seesaw, 1990, The Wedding, 1991, Nastazia, 1993, Mishima, 1994.
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      • book: Ashes and Diamonds/Kanal/a Generation: 3 Films
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      • book: Epitalamium Na Wesele Zygmunta Iii, 1592
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      • book: Epitalamium na wesele Zygmunta III, 1592 (Polish Edition)
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      • book: The Wajda Trilogy Ashes and Diamonds Kanal A Generation
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      • book: Ashes and Diamonds, Kanal
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      • book: Ashes and Diamonds-Showbill-May, 1961 Showbill
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      • book: Rough Treatment: Sans Anesthesie: Ohne Betaubung: Bez Zniezulenia - An Illustrated Film Brochure
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    • Relatives
      • Aniela Wajda
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      • Beata Tyszkiewicz
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      • Krystyna Zachwatowicz
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      • Jakub Wajda
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