When the sewers were being constructed in a film studio in Łódź for the new film by Andrzej Wajda, nobody suspected that in future this film would be recognized as the beginning of the Polish School. The screenplay was written by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński and based on his own short story describing his own experience. This was the first post-war portrait of the Warsaw Uprising. It depicts a dramatic attempt by a platoon of the Home Army to get into the fighting quarter of Central Warsaw. In the besieged city it is becoming increasingly difficult to move from one quarter to another, and therefore the soldiers resolve to go through the sewers. The approaching tragedy is foreshadowed by the music, which accompanies the characters in their underground journey. Poignant sounds from an ocarina mix with the sound of shootings and footsteps in the dark sewers, filled with moist sewage. These elements build up an original image of the hell the characters are in. The director did not choose to make a eulogy for the insurgents, which caused the disapproval of the audience and unfavourable reviews. Only gaining a Silver Palm at the Cannes IFF in 1957 (ex aequo with The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman!) and much praise for the work abroad, began a small change in the attitude back in Poland.
Cannes IFF 1957 – Jury Special Prize
(1926 - 2016) Film and theatre director, screenwriter and stage-designer. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (1946-1950) and then directing at the National Film School in Łódź. Andrzej Wajda was one of the most distinguished and popular Polish directors and a co-founder of the Polish School of the 1950s and 1960s. He started his professional career working with Aleksander Ford on the film Five from Barska Street. His feature debut was A Generation), a story about young people of the suburbs of Warsaw during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Wajda was an extraordinarily prolific and universal director. He has made very different films: psychological, historical, political, literature adaptations. In every genre, his works have made history in Polish cinema. For his outstanding services to the film industry Wajda has received numerous prestigious awards. In 2000 he was the first Polish filmmaker to receive an honorary Oscar. Wajda was also a theatre director. He worked at Teatr Stary in Kraków and Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw.
1954 Pokolenie / A Generation
1957 Kanał / Kanal
1958 Popiół i diament / Ashes and Diamonds
1960 Niewinni czarodzieje / Innocent Sorcerers
1965 Popioły / The Ashes
1968 Wszystko na sprzedaż / Everything for Sale
1970 Krajobraz po bitwie / Landscape After the Battle
1973 Wesele / The Wedding
1974 Ziemia obiecana / Promised land
1976 Człowiek z marmuru / Man of Marble
1979 Panny z Wilka / The Girl from Wilko
1981 Człowiek z żelaza / Man of Iron
1999 Pan Tadeusz