Wajda – at Work

He died in 2016, Andrzej Wajda, 90 years old. A quote from Guardian’s obituary: ”Polish cinema burst upon the world in the 1950s with Andrzej Wajda’s war trilogy, A Generation, Kanał and Ashes and Diamonds, with the director becoming the voice of disaffected postwar youth. A generation later, Wajda, who has died aged 90, was the voice of Poland again, as the country struggled to survive political and economic turmoil.”

And why this text now… simply because I first now got to watch the film about him, ”Andrzej Wajda – Let’s Shoot”, filmed during the shooting of ”Katyn” that came out in 2007, the film about the Soviet massacre in 1940, where about 22.000 Polish prisoners of war were killed in the forest Katyn in Western Russia.

The film about Wajda making the film, however, is not about the

theme of the film but about a filmmaker, aged 82, at work. Amazing to watch him full of energy being enthusiastic and/or depressed when the scenes being shot are not, what he wanted them to be. A small girl does not perform well in the beginning, ”what can I do” the old master says… later you see him being more than attentive to get a fine photo taken of him and the girl; for her to take home for herself and her mother. Very sweet. And his quest for perfection where he reminds us what Visconti wanted – an envelope precisely organised and put in a drawer even if everyone knew that it would never be in the film. ”Discipline”, Wajda says. The film gets close to him at work, a pleasure to watch him, a man with so much experience on the set as if it was the first time. Nervous, upset, engaged, committed.

The Wajda Studio published the dvd of the film, which was given out when the school that carries the name of the director, celebrated its 15th year of existence. We brought a text when the 10 year was celebrated – link below.

The film about Wajda was made by four Wajda School graduates: Maciej Cuske, Piotr Stasik, Marcin Sauter and Thierry Paladino. The latter gave the name to the group: Paladino Film Group.

All four have been praised on this site – the three first are very active in Polish cinema, the latter, Paladino, French, living in France, made the beautiful ”La Machina” that I wrote about, link below, and characterised as having ”a flavour of Renoir and Kiarostami”. He should come out with a new film in 2018…  

Poland, Wajda Studio, 2008, 59 mins.



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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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