Director: Andrzej Wajda | 127 minutes | biography, drama | Actors: Robert Wieckiewicz, Agnieszka Grochowska, Iwona Bielska, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Ewa Kolasinska, Miroslaw Baka, Michal Czernecki, Remigiusz Jankowski, Wojciech Kalarus, Piotr Probosz, Marcin Cezary Konjinski, Maciej Koninski Gokinski, Maciej Marcin Hycnarski, Maciej Koninski, Maciejinski
“Walesa, Man of Hope” is a conventional, yet intriguing and rousing biopic about the Polish Lech Walesa, who went from docker to union leader of millions of workers in the 1970s and eventually ended up in the presidential seat. After WWII, Poland falls under the control of the Soviet Union. In the 1970s, a deep depression reigned in the country, prices steadily rise and wages plummet to a low point. Walesa, a man of the people, sets himself up as the leader of a national resistance against the communist regime. He knows how to form a much needed bridge between the workers and the activist intellectuals. After being imprisoned by the regime several times, he wins the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and will eventually become Poland’s first democratically elected president.
“Walesa, Man of Hope” is by one of Poland’s most celebrated directors, Andrzej Wajda. With this film, he finally completes the trilogy he started with ‘Man of Marble’ and ‘Man of Iron’, made in 1977 and 1981 respectively. deserved to see.
“Walesa, Man of Hope” has a clever structure. The story is framed by an interview conducted by the notorious Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci from Walesa. Old archive footage of strikes, protests and food shortages are cleverly woven into the film. Walesa’s family life (he was a father of eight children) also plays an important role in the story. The film opens with a beautiful scene in which Walesa washes the feet of his heavily pregnant wife in a tub in the kitchen. The famous Pole is made very human by these kinds of scenes, which are based on the recently published memoirs of Mrs. Walesa.
Robert Wieckiewicz delivers a very strong rendition of Walesa, although typical. You could blame him for excessive theatricality, but Lech Walesa was and is a theatrical man. Wieckiewicz knows very well how to convey the tireless lion heart of this Nobel Prize winner and ex-president. The Polish punk soundtrack captures the sentiment of the film very well. Coupled with the old images of docks and mines, “Walesa, Man of Hope” paints an accurate picture of the atmosphere of anger and repression that reigned in 1970s Poland.
Not only is this film so good because of its historical value (after all, Polish history remains relatively unknown to us), in many more ways “Walesa, Man of Hope” is a real delight. The development from an angry worker to a charismatic resistance leader is conveyed exceptionally well and Lech Walesa is portrayed as a humorous and fascinating character. It really blows that the driving force behind this film is passion, this is a story that sooner or later had to be told. It is very fortunate that Wajda, grand master of Polish cinema, has taken on this task because the result has become a particularly compelling film.