40 years of “Man of Steel” that depicted “Solidarity”

This content was published on Jul 27, 2021 – 13:54

Miguel Angel Gayo Macías

Krakow (Poland), July 27 (EFE). The Man of Steel by Andrzej Waeda, an essential film to explain a defining moment in Poland’s modern history, which she also influenced, and which depicted Union Solidarity, has been released for forty years now.

In the absence of freedom in the media, cinema was thanks to directors like Oujda (1926-2016), who took on the role of witness to the current events in Poland in the eighties.

If films like “The Man of Marble” (1977), which tells the story of a working hero frustrated by communism, cinema and history were on the same page of history, with “The Man of Steel”, one could say that cinema came to influence the Events that will change the country

In August 1980, the famous director Waida visited the shipyards in Gdansk, where the leaders of Solidarity Anna Valentinowicz and Lech Walesa were wrestling with the regime of General Wojciech Yaruzelsky.

During that visit, which he made amid great tension and monitoring by the authorities, he met and grandmother Miroslav Wiese, one of the workers of the famous Workshop No. 2, baptized as “Lenin”, and it was he who gave her an idea of ​​the script of the film and suggested the title.

In later interviews, Wajda recalled how, as he was being pushed out of the shipyard, he turned around and yelled to Lozen, “I promise I’ll make this movie.”

Within a few weeks, the text, written in collaboration with Alexander Skibor-Rilsky, was completed.

However, it proved impossible to obtain permission to shoot in the shipyards in Gdansk, where the famous agreements of the same name had just been signed, on the basis of handwritten requests by representatives of Solidarity on wooden planks; The course of events was absolutely amazing.

Wajda had to reconstruct several Gdansk sets in a studio in Warsaw, for which he had the help of workers from there, who advised him to give the props as realistic as possible.

Wajda explained: “I wanted the film to come out to the world, and to be understood abroad, so I decided that it would be good for the hero to tell (…) how the strike began.”

In the film’s plot, which contains real images taken from documentaries, the drama that embodies the story is punctuated by parts dedicated to explaining the social and political context that Poland was going through at the time, and even some young Walentynowicz and Walesa are shown translating themselves.

Although, over time, the plot of “The Man of Steel” as Manichean and its characters have been described by professional critics as simple and devoid of nuances, opinions that Wajda willingly accepted, the director has always stated that his intention was to “use a scheme Typical socialist realism, without grayscale, without more than one dimension.”

The only exception is the character of journalist Winkle, brilliantly played by Marianne Obania, who in the film gives life to a journalist writing about labor strikes and undergoing an evolution in his ideas, from unwavering support for the communist regime to lining up. Same with striking with sexy appeal.

Two months before its commercial release, the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Jury Prize.

Andrzej Wajda’s goal was achieved by sending a cinematic postcard to the West to tell them what was happening at that moment in Poland.

The echo that “Man of Steel” has reached in Poland for years, and even in 1983, two years after its premiere, critic Aleksandar Jakiewicz wrote in the magazine “My Film Library”: “If one day someone wanted to know what It really happened, you should look for it in this movie, because the real testimonies in it are still alive, where you can hear the noise of events and the narrator’s breathless, near, torn voice.”

“Iron Man” was one of 21 films selected in 2014 by Italian-American director Martin Scorsese for the “Masterpieces of Polish Cinema” series. EFE

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