Man of iron

(Człowiek z żelaza, 1981)
   Andrzej Wajda's sequel to Man of Marble (1977). The film won the Palme d'Or (the grand prize) at the Cannes Film Festival and was the biggest critical success of the Solidarity period. Man of Iron preserves the narrative structure of its famous predecessor and relies on flashbacks to tell the story of Birkut's son Maciek Tomczyk (Jerzy Radziwiłowicz), a Gdańsk shipyard worker and a Solidarity activist married to Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda). The alcoholic journalist Winkiel (Marian Opania), who is being blackmailed by the state authorities, searches for Birkut's son in order to discredit him. The viewer learns about Tomczyk through the converted sinner Winkiel, who changes his views after meeting the Solidarity activists and learning about their goals. Wajda incorporates documents, newsreels, fragments of Man of Marble, television programs, and real-life political figures (among them Lech Wałęsa) to produce an explicitly political work. With its clear divisions between "us" and "them" and because it was hastily made during the brief Solidarity period, Man of Iron suffers from one-dimensional characterization typical of socialist realist cinema. However, although Wajda's film may fail as a work of art, it fittingly captures the spirit of Solidarity. The film was banned by the authorities after the introduction of martial law on 13 December 1981.
   See also Censorship.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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