Not only is Andrzej Wajda?s award-winning Man of Marble one of the most important films in the history of Polis cinema, it is also one of the most compelling attacks on government corruption ever made. It is a Citizen Ka... more »ne-styled story where Wajda introduces us to a young woman in Krakow, Agnieszka, who is making her thesis film. She is looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly elevated to the status of a communist hero. She wants to know how his heroism was created and what became of him. She gets a hold of censored footage and interviews with the man?s friends and ex-wife, and the filmmaker who made him a hero. A portrait of Birkut emerges as a man who believed in the socialist ideals, the workers revolution, and in building housing for all. However, the young filmmaker?s hard-driving style and the content of her film unnerve her supervisor, who thinks it?s getting too close to a political nerve. The film project is killed with the excuse she is over budget, but the young filmmaker pushes forward against all odds to finish her film.« less
Martin P. Rybczynski | Boulder, Colorado, USA | 01/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Man of Marble provides a fascinating insight into the late 40s, 50s and 70s in Poland. Wajda skillfully weaves a multi-layered narrative. The film revolves around the life story of Birkut (Radziwilowicz), an idealistic bricklayer Stakhanovite in Nowa Huta, who gets involved in the politics, propaganda, and complications of the post World War II period. But it is also a story of an aspiring film director (Janda) in Gierek's era, pursuing Birkut's life story as the subject matter for her diploma movie. In addition, the film portrays the motivations of Birkut's contemporaries: a movie director, a secret police agent, a friend from work, and a party leader. We meet these characters again, later in life, in the context of the 70s when Huta Katowice was the symbol of the times. Lastly, Wajda produces an excellent footage in the documentary style that provides a historical backdrop and binds various themes together.I was delighted to see Man of Marble and its witty contrast between the two historical periods in which truth and reality suffered considerable distortion. When it was made in 1976 at the height of Gierek's economic and propagandistic excesses, this film was a courageous, revealing, and thought provoking piece. I highly recommend the movie to anyone seeking out the nuances of the Polish culture and psyche. Although the film contains references to true historical figures and events, its plot is purely fictional.The subtitles are crude and far from the original and colorful language of both periods in the movie."
A film about making a film
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 09/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Czlowiek z Marmuru," directed by Andrezej Wajda, is a story about a student making a film about a bricklayer that was idolized in the 1950s, and then denounced. She uncovers more and more details of what happened to him by interviewing people that knew him (that tell her their story) and viewing film clippings about him (which are shown in black-and-white). Between tracking down details in the present time (1976), watching black-and-white newsreels from the 1950s, and the stories various people tell (flashbacks), the film is a captivating mystery that unfolds, while holding your attention."Czlowiek z Marmuru" (1976) is 156 minutes, spoken in Polish, and has optional English subtitles."
Andzej Wajda: Czlowiek Z Marmuru (1976)
Richard J. Brzostek | 07/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most important movies in history of Polish filmaking! Winner of Cannes Festival in 1978.
The originality of Andrzej Wajda's film Man of Marble lies in the fact that it is not original (what can be less original than the fate of a labour-leader from the stalinist era?).The beauty of this exceptional film lies in the complexity of the director's attitude towards Birkut, a representative - perfect in his submissiveness - of the whole miserable, alienated period. Wajda wants to communicate two opposing truths: first, that stalinism was a disaster and second, that the people who believed in it - and whom it consequently crushed - were driven by an honest spirit of idealism. It hasn't been easy to juxtapose these two messages, but Wajda has succeeded completely. Like every artist worth his name, he began not with the typical, but with the individual. Before Birkut became a lead labourer he possessed all the virtues and vices which have always been a constant element of humanity, regardless of place and time. Disguised by the label of socialist hero were humility and decency - qualities which made him a real hero. What was the effect of this delicate operation? Stalinism has been unconditionally condemned, but socialism as an idea and utopia seems to be saved.The film is strictly consistent in form, which leaves no room for sentimentalism, so easy to introduce. The action takes place among the bare walls of the shipyard and office buildings, and it draws us in like a detective story, one, however, in which we don't search for the criminal but for historical truth. The only feeling is one of regret that the problems, which caused so much suffering in the past, have not been fully solved"
A serious warning about the crash of the Communism!
"This movie owns that golden touch which characterizes the immortal masterpieces . Wajda made a superb film against the double moral of the struggling Comunist system . A lost statue in memory of a revolution hero will be the mysterious device to search the truth behind the nasty tearful au revoir of the false homage around a serious disturbance for the Status Quo . You know as well as me the Totalitarian Regimes hate everything which works out of control because the free will is obviously a clear danger for the State surviving . The statement is very simple : Everybody must be inside the average . And you know what this means : the average always equalize but to bottom , if you are very good in a special field you are beyond the average and this is considered as a deadly sin for this Govern System . Rememeber those words of Millan Astray : Dead the intelligence . Or Goering sentence : *When I hear the word culture I show the gun *. And that is what it happened in this case when a extremely naive man deeply convinced about the Regime kindness decides in the name of the State to show how he and his team are capable to built a house in just one day . The man becomes a popular hero; a raising mass symbol but without the support of the Governement ; so this may be well a double edge weapon . So the dark arm of the establishment will turn the fate of this man in the great day with a merciless and casual? accident . This brave film is really absorbing from start to finnish , and you will be involved step by step with this haunting story . I have not a shadow of doubt this remarkable work was one of the multiple red light signals which would carry to the Perestroika a decade after . Sublime, terrific, poignant and extraordinary film of this outstanding polish filmmaker. "
"Man of Marble" sparks fire against censorship/communism
Luckie | Ontario Canada | 01/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At a time when Poles became more and more frustrated with communist oppression, along comes Andrzej Wajda with MAN OF MARBLE. Not only does his film speak to a broad Polish audience, but it manages to mobilise them together in a fight for democracy that would last over a decade. The film itself is very entertaining and provides a story-within-a-story concept, following a young Polish student, Agneszka, and her struggles to complete her student film thesis. Incorporating some documentary stock footage, Wajda creates a solid piece of Polish cinema that reflects the real struggles and heritage of his fellow countrymen. Definitely a must for the world cinema enthusiast and Eastern European history buff. (Personally, I cannot wait to have Wajda's Man of Iron on DVD)"