WARSAW – A breakthrough film by Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who some consider the strongest personal and artistic link between Japan and Poland, will be shown in Tokyo this month.
Based on a Polish epic poem, the film, “Pan Tadeusz,” marks the veteran director’s re-emergence from a period of self-imposed solitude and quiet work. The film became a blockbuster in Poland, for a time even outdoing popular Hollywood productions.
“I think I have re-established my contact with the film audience,” Wajda said in an interview, adding that his comments last year about his audience having dispersed were too pessimistic.
“(The film) was a success, and a large audience felt satisfied with what I showed to them,” Wajda said.
“Both in the poem and the film there appear very typical Polish characters. Poles can see themselves and their country as in a mirror, at their most ridiculous and grim,” he said.
Wajda has given some of the most dramatic events of the century profound expression in his films, which deal with war, communism and Poland’s struggle for national independence. They include “The Diamond and Ashes,” “The Channel” and “The Man of Marble.”
Wajda works with these themes, unable to find inspiration for a film about life in contemporary Poland.
“I should like to make movies about our contemporary times, but at the moment, I cannot see material which would offer me an opportunity (to do so),” he said.
Earlier this year, Wajda received an Oscar for the body of his artistic work. “I never made movies for the worldwide audience,” he said. “They were addressed to the Polish people, but problems presented in them had such great intensity that they could impress foreign viewers.”
Wajda spoke with Japanese reporters last Friday at the Center of Japanese Art and Culture Mangha, a venue for Japanese art and technology he founded in Krakow in 1994 after receiving the Kyoto Award in Japan in 1993.
Wajda likens the precision of Japanese technological products to that of old Japanese wood engravings.
The director feels the Japanese and Polish people have in common great ambition. However, referring to the well-known saying by former President Lech Walesa in 1980 on building Poland into a second Japan, Wajda says he believes the Polish people are not aware of how much work would have to be done to achieve that dream.
“I am afraid if they knew this, they would stop dreaming of the second Japan.”
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