A moving biopic of Lech Walesa – from dockworker to national resistance hero and president of Poland. Aged 88, the veteran Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda received a standing ovation at the 70th Venice Film Festival and was awarded the Persol Award for his oeuvre. He is one of the most powerful chroniclers of post-war Poland. Walesa, Man of Hope is a classical but vibrantly acted biography of the electrician and trade union leader Lech Walesa, who rose to prominence as the spokesman of the Solidarity Movement at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. He unleashed a quiet and later vociferous revolution against the Communist regime. For his efforts on behalf of Polish workers, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and from 1990 to 1995 he was Poland’s first democratically elected president.
Director Wajda has structured the film around an interview that Walesa gave to the notorious Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. Archive footage of strikes, food shortages, protests and Walesa’s visit to Pope John Paul II illustrate the major events that were happening. In addition, Wajda paints an intimate picture of what was going on behind the doors of the cramped apartment where Walesa was living with his wife Danuta and their ever-growing family. On several occasions, Walesa was imprisoned by the regime. Dealing with this uncertain and chaotic life, Danuta became the no less strong woman behind the strong man Walesa. (CF)