Andrzej Wajda (born 6 March 1926 in Suwałki, died 9 October 2016)
Honorary Citizen of Warsaw since June 2015
Film, theatre and television director, set designer, screenwriter, educator. A senator of the Republic of Poland in the years 1989-1991. Knight of the Order of the White Eagle.
From 1946 to 1949 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. In 1953 he graduated from the Directing Department at the National Film School in Łódź. Two years later he made his cinema debut with the film "Generation" – a story about the fate of young people from the suburbs of Warsaw during the Nazi occupation.
He gained popularity with films initiating the so-called Polish film school: "Kanał" and "Ashes and Diamonds", in which he settled with World War II. He is also the author of adaptation of such literary works as "The Ashes", The Birch Wood", "The Wedding", "The Promised Land", "The Maids of Wilko" and "Pan Tadeusz". He co-authored the cinema of moral anxiety, this current included films embedded in social themes, exposing the pathologies of the Communist system in Poland: "Man of Marble" and its sequel "Man of Iron", awarded the Golden Palm in Cannes. Andrzej Wajda's recent works include the martyrological film "Katyń", the experimental "Sweet Rush" and biographical "Wałęsa. Man of Hope".
The director initiated Film Group X, operating in the years 1972-1983, the Master School of Film Directing established in 2001 and his own film studio.
Andrzej Wajda is also a theatre director. He made his theatrical debut in 1959, in the Dramatic Theatre in Gdynia, with Michael V. Gazzo's "A Hatful of Rain". From the year 1960 he began working with theatres in Warsaw: Ateneum Theatre, Teatr na Woli and Teatr Współczesny, which he ran in the years 1989-1990. He has also staged many plays at Krakow's Old Theatre and on foreign stages.
Andrzej Wajda's works are characterised by references to Polish symbolism and romanticism, as well as deconstructing myths present in Polish national consciousness. The director has received numerous awards for his contribution in the development of cinema, among others, in 2000 he received the Academy Award – an Oscar for lifetime achievement.
Since the release of "Man of Marble", Andrzej Wajda was engaged in political activism, supporting the opposition movement in Communist Poland, including the events of August 1980. He participated in the Organising Committee of the IV Congress of Polish Culture, initiated by the Solidarity movement. In 1988, he was one of the initiators of the establishment of the Warsaw Katyń Families.
He is a doctor honoris causa of the Jagiellonian University, the University of Warsaw, the University of Gdańsk, the University of Łódź, the Pedagogical University of Cracow and the State Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre. Since 1994 he is a honorary member of the French Academy of Fine Arts.
Fot. Grzegorz Mehring/mehring.pl