Legendary Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda tackles the story of another of his country’s legends — former dockworker, Solidarity founder, and eventual Polish president Lech Walesa — in this epic, decades-spanning biopic.

Special Presentations

Walesa. Man of Hope.

Andrzej Wajda

Few people can claim to have profoundly changed the world in which they found themselves. Among those few, undoubtedly, is Lech Walesa, an ordinary shipyard worker and electrician who found himself inadvertently leading a quiet revolution that ended up not only toppling a dictatorship in his own country, but also eating away at the crumbling edifice of the Soviet empire in the 1980s.

Andrzej Wajda, Poland's greatest filmmaker, and a man who has made his own telling artistic contribution over six decades, turns to Walesa as a subject, dramatizing both the public and private sides of this deceptively simple — but actually very complex — man. Structuring his film around an interview that Walesa (Robert Wieckiewicz) gives to the famed Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci (Maria Rosaria Omaggio) allows Wajda to move easily between past and present, between the great events of the era and the personal life of Lech and his wife Danuta (Agnieszka Grochowska). Archival footage of the strikes, food shortages, protests, martial law, and Walesa's visit with Pope John Paul II situates us in the moment, but also frees Wajda to take a far more intimate look at what went on behind the doors of the cramped apartment that this working couple shared with their ever-growing family. These two strong personalities certainly had their moments: Walesa was not an easy man as he restlessly attempted to balance the needs of home with the responsibilities of power.

Wajda has always been a master at carefully etching his characters against the broader sweep of history — The Promised Land (75), Danton (83), and Korczak (90) are just three examples that spring to mind — and in Walesa. Man of Hope. these skills are utilized to the utmost.

PIERS HANDLING

Screenings

Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 7

Industry
11:15am
Tue Sep 10

Scotiabank 5

Industry
9:00am
Wed Sep 11

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
6:00pm
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 1

Regular
1:45pm
Sun Sep 15

Scotiabank 1

Regular
9:30am