EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MAN OF MARBLE (CZLOWIEK Z MARMURU) (director: Andrzej Wajda; screenwriter: Aleksander Scibor-Rylski; cinematographer: Edward Klosinski; editor: Halina Pugarowa; music: Andrzej Korzynski; cast: Krystyna Janda (Agnieszka), Jerzy Radziwilowicz (Mateusz Birkut), Krystyna Zachwatowicz (Hanka Tomczyk), Wieslaw Wojcik (Film Editor), Boguslaw Sobczuk (TV Producer), Krystyna Janda (Mateusz Birkut), Michal Tarkowski (Witek), Piotr Cieslak (Michalak), Jacek Lomnicki (Soundman), Tadeusz Lomnicki (Jerzy Burski); Runtime: 160; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Barbara Pec-Slesicka; Film Polski; 1977-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles|
by Dennis Schwartz
of Iron"/"Kanal"/"Ashes and
Diamonds") directs this superior political pic.
Through a documentary style it gives the filmmaker a
chance to reflect on the past missteps and hypocrisies
of Poland's Stalinization period in 1952, when
it was declared a People's Republic. The story has the
aggressive TV reporter, the 24-year-old film student Agnieszka
(Krystyna Janda), make a film
for her diploma from film school, reluctantly
sponsored by her TV producer (Boguslaw
Sobczuk), on the bricklayer hero of
1952, Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy
Radziwilowicz), a young farmer's son
from Cracow, who set a record with a team of
bricklayers in building new homes in the new
industrial town of Nowa Huta and for that was made a
national hero, called a Stakhanovite
shock-worker, with a giant poster of him hung
on the town's central square. But he was later
discredited and the poster on the government
building was removed, and he has since not been
heard from and vanished into obscurity. Agnieszka
finds answers for why when she
interviews the famed elderly internationally renown
Polish film director Jerzy Burski
who shot the film Architects of our Happiness, a
propaganda documentary on Birkut and others
involved with Birkut, that include his former wife (Krystyna
Zachwatowicz), friends, enemies and museum
personnel who kept the film in their archives for
the last 25 years with orders from the curator to
not show it.
subsequently offers a 1970's revised take on
Poland's immediate past, using newsreel-like
flashbacks for its detective story as not only a
source of suspense but, even more so, to offer
commentary on how easy it is to doctor documentaries
for ulterior aims, how those in power use their
office to cover things up and how repressive was the
film challenged the Communist authorities and their
glorious portrayal of the past, and as a
result Wajda's humanistic film was delayed a release
for four years.
polemical storytelling is a plus, but the always
fidgeting and angry chain-smoking performance by Janda
was a turn-off because her irritating behavior made
her a difficult person to like.
The title of the Solidarity film refers to the state created marble statues of Birkut, used for propaganda, that were found in the museum's storage area.
REVIEWED ON 2/4/2013 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ