Opening with a techno-thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts adrift in space, the Venice Film Festival presents the world premiere of Andrzej Wajda's Lech Wałęsa. Man of Hope.
Still from Wajda's "Walesa. Man of Hope", photo: Marcin Makowski/MAKUFLY/Akson Studio
A "launch pad for new films", the Venice Film Festival 2013 hosts the world premiere of Poland’s most anticipated film of the year.
With a strong line-up featuring independent, auteur films and blockbusters, the Venice Festival presents Andrzej Wajda's long awaited depiction of the life of Solidarity legend Lech Wałęsa. The festival opens with techno-thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts adrift in space Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity.
Showcasing 53 new feature films, with 33 countries represented in the overall selection, Venice placed Wajda's film in the Out of Competition section - a place for important works by directors already established in previous editions of the festival.
The Venice Film Festival 1998 was where the director received a Golden Lion Award for life achievement and outstanding contribution to the history of the cinema. This is also where Wajda's Katyń, the first Polish film on the heated topic of the Katyń massacres early in the Second World War, was awarded the Italian journalists' prize Nastro d'Argento Europeo 2009. First but not least was the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Festival for the director's Ashes and Diamonds, a film that re-defined attitudes towards Polishness and tradition - and had been forbidden to take part in international festivals by the communist regime in the People's Republic of Poland. Its success in Venice marked its entry onto the circuit of international festivals.
The 2013 edition of the festival is its 70th edition and happens to coincide with Lech Wałęsa's 70th birthday. "It will be an exceptional event", says the film's producer, Michał Kwieciński. What is more, just before the screening Wajda will receive the Persol prize, which is meant for a legend of international cinema.
In commenting on this award, the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera states: "Wajda is not just the most emblematic director in post-war Polish filmmaking. He is the director who has been capable of raising the most decisive and important questions about the history of his country, and consequently, of Europe."
Wajda’s Wałęsa. Man of Hope captures the personal evolution of the legendary labor champion and political force. From electrician to charismatic leader, co-founder of the Solidarity union and Nobel Prize laureate, the film portrays the strengths and weaknesses of the Solidarity leader. The script for Wałęsa was written by playwright ad part-time New Yorker Janusz Głowacki, providing rich context for Polish idiosyncrasies and intricacies that will attract particular appreciation among international audiences. The lead role is played by Robert Więckiewicz, the role of the protagonist's wife, Danuta Wałęsa, is played by Agnieszka Grochowska.
The Polish premiere is planned for the 23rd of September 2013 at Warsaw's Teatr Wielki, and the film will also feature at the Toronto International Film Festival. Finally, it can be enjoyed by audiences in general release in Poland as of the 4th of October.
For more information see: Venice Film Festival
Editor: MJ 26.07.2013
Sources: Polish language article culture.pl, Philly.com, Venice FF website