Tag Archives: Palm d’Or

Acclaimed Polish film director Andrzej Wajda dies aged 90

 

Andrzej Wajda the acclaimed Polish director whose films reflected his country’s turbulent history, has died at the age of 90.

Reports in Poland said he died in hospital of lung failure after being put into a medically induced coma in recent days.

Director of films including Kanał, Katyń and the Palme d’Or-winning Man of Iron, Wajda was also awarded an Oscar for lifetime achievement

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Wajda after receiving his honorary Oscar in 2000 (Photo credit: Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

Wajda, who was awarded an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2000, became a filmmaker only after being rejected by the army in 1939.

He attended Poland’s renowned Łódź film school after the second world war. His career took flight after winning the jury special prize at the Cannes film festival in 1957 for Kanał (Canal), about the doomed 1944 Warsaw uprising by Polish partisans against the Nazis.

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A still from Wajda’s 1957 film, Kanał. (Photo: Allstar/Kingsley-Int)

The award allowed Wajda to make his next film, Popiół i Diament (Ashes and Diamonds) in 1958 and cemented his position in Polish film.

In the 1970s Wajda turned to Polish literature for inspiration for Brzezina (Birch Wood, 1970), Wesele (The Wedding) two years later and Ziemia Obiecana (The Promised Land) in 1974.

At the 1977 Cannes festival, he screened Człowiek z marmuru (Man of Marble), a film critical of communist Poland.

It was followed three years later by Człowiek z żelaza (Man of Iron), focused on the rise of Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity trade union. That film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1981, even as Poland’s then-communist regime cracked down on Solidarity and imposed martial law.

“The day of the Palme was a very important day in my life, of course. But I was aware that this prize wasn’t just for me. It was also a prize for the Solidarity union,” Wajda said in an interview in 2007.

The filmmaker donated the prestigious award to a Kraków museum, where it remains on display next to his other prizes, including the lifetime achievement Oscar.

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The 1981 Palme d’Or saved Wajda from being jailed by the communist regime – a fate that befell many of the director’s friends and colleagues – including Solidarity’s leader, Lech Wałęsa.

 

Wajda’s opposition to the regime of Poland’s communist leader, general Wojciech Jaruzelski, led him to make films abroad, including Danton (1983) in France, starring Gérard Depardieu.

Eine Liebe in Deutschland (A Love in Germany, 1986) followed in Germany and Wajda’s interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed (1998) was shot in France.

After the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989, Wajda returned to the country’s wartime history, focusing on stories suppressed by the communists. Korczak (1990) details the fate of Janusz Korczak, a pre-war Polish-Jewish children’s author and physician who died in the Holocaust.

With Pierścionek z orłem w koronie (The Crowned-Eagle Ring, 1993), Wajda once again turned to the 1944 Warsaw uprising. Wielki Tydzień (Holy Week, 1995) examined the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising – the doomed rebellion against the Nazis by Jewish partisans.

One of his last films, Katyń – nominated for an Oscar in 2008 – tells the story of his father, Jakub Wajda, who was one of 22,500 Polish officers killed by the Soviets in 1940 in the Katyn forest. Last year he directed Powidoki, which is Poland’s official entry for this year’s Academy Awards.

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com)

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Ken Loach wins Palme d’Or at Cannes for “I, Daniel Blake.”

May. 22, 2016

Veteran British director Ken Loach won his second Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival Sunday for I, Daniel Blake — a stark portrayal of a disabled man’s struggle with the crushing benefits system in northern England.

The 79-year-old was presented the festival’s top prize by actor Mel Gibson at a ceremony on the French Riviera. Accepting the award, the silver-haired Loach punched his fists in the air in victory and said that he hoped his gritty, social realist movie would hold a mirror up to the impact of Europe’s policies of austerity on the poorest in society.

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Director Ken Loach, centre, actor Mel Gibson, left and President of the Jury George Miller react after Roach is awarded the Palme d’or for the film I, Daniel Blake, during the awards ceremony at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

“We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible,” he said.

I, Daniel Blake chronicles a middle-aged widower from Newcastle who, after a heart attack, can neither work nor get government aid. It follows the sometimes comic, frequently painful frustrations as he winds his way through an archaic system that seems designed to bring him down.

Like many of Loach’s films, social politics is at the heart of I, Daniel Blake — which many critics have predicted could be his last.

“There is a conscious cruelty in the way that we are organizing our lives now, where the most vulnerable people are told that their poverty is their own fault,” Loach told reporters. “If you have no work it’s your fault you haven’t got a job. Never mind in Britain, there is mass unemployment throughout Europe.”

Loach has long brought his distinct portrayals of the British working class to Cannes — and is more a regular at Cannes than almost any filmmaker. He has had 12 films in competition at the festival over the years, including his Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Canadian director Xavier Dolan picked up the runner-up Grand Prize, which has been seen by some critics as a vindication for him personally after his film, It’s Only The End Of The World, garnered lukewarm reviews and triggered a spat between him and certain film critics. The 27-year-old won the jury prize in 2014 for Mommy.
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Director Xavier Dolan poses for photographers with his Grand Prix prize for the film, Juste La Fin du Monde (It’s Only The End OF the World), during the photo call following the awards ceremony at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

The jury of the 69th Cannes Film Festival was headed by Australian director George Miller who described the jury’s selection as “two words: rigorous and happy.”

The Cannes jury’s decisions are famously unpredictable, and take place behind doors closed to the press for the duration of the May 11-22 festival.

Despite mixed reviews, director Asghar Farhadi’s film, The Salesman, picked up several awards including best screenplay and best actor for Shahab Hosseini.

Romanian director Cristian Mungui, who was a favorite to win the Palme d’Or for Graduation, won the best director award, which he shared with French director Olivier Assayas for his paranormal thriller, Personal Shopper, starring former Twilight star Kristen Stewart.

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Director Olivier Assayas poses for photographers after receiving the Best Director award for the film Personal Shopper, during the photo call following the awards ceremony at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

(Source: AP mobile website – http://bigstory.ap.org/ed8b90b4f057494fb86b9f6a1d6b5405)