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Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda receives the 2013 Persol Award

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Award Ceremony on Thursday 5 September at 9:45 in the Palazzo del Cinema
09 | 05 | 2013

Wajda’s new film, Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei (Walesa. Man of Hope), will screen at the Festival

The Biennale di Venezia and Persol are pleased to announce that the great Polish director and screenwriter Andrzej Wajda has been awarded the 2013 Persol prize of the Venice International Film Festival, which intends to celebrate 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, in his work (over 50 films in his more than sixty-year career), of raising the most decisive and important questions about the history of his country, and consequently, of Europe in its entirety, inviting us to reflect on the critical relationship between personal experiences and those of an entire nation, between the anguish that often befalls individual destinies and the weight of the collective task they are called upon to accomplish”.
 
Fabio d'Angelantonio, Chief Marketing Officer of the Luxottica Group, states: "We are proud to continue our successful collaboration with the Venice International Film Festival at the Biennale di Venezia. The Persol style embraces the values of the most authentic tradition of handmade art and this makes Persol an unsurpassed benchmark for prestige accessories. We believe that Venice is the ideal venue to celebrate, in a perfect setting, the film talent that best expresses the Persol style".
 
The award ceremony for the Persol prize to Andrzej Wajda will be held at the 70th Venice Film Festival on Thursday September 5th at 9:45 pm in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema). It will be followed by the screening, Out of Competition, of his new film Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei (Walesa. Man of Hope), a tribute to Lech Walesa, one of the key figures in the history of the new Poland.
 
Persol is the sponsor, for the ninth successive year, of the Venice International Film Festival.
 
Andrzej Wajda won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 1998 Venice International Film Festival, and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 2000. In 1981 he won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival for Man of Iron, in which Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarnosc, appeared as himself. This film contributed to Wajda's being identified as the director of change in Poland. At the Venice Film Festival in 1958, Wajda presented one of his first masterpieces, Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds), about the crisis and rebellion of a generation of young Poles “burned” by war, a film that established him as the key figure in his country’s New Wave. Wajda is one of the masters (Polanski, Kieslowski, Skolimowski, and Zanussi are others) who trained at the famous Lodz Film School between the Fifties and the Seventies.
 
Four films by Andrzej Wajda were nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film: The Promised Land (1975), The Young Girls of Wilko (1979), Man of Iron (1981) and Katyn (2007). In 1955, the year after earning his diploma at the Lodz school, Wajda directed A Generation, about the Polish Resistance. Two years later he filmed his first international success, Kanal (1957), which won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival: set during the insurrection in Warsaw in 1944, it contrasted the personal anguish of the main character with the dilemmas of Polish national history. Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds, 1958), which won the international critics’ award at the Venice International Film Festival, is considered a fundamental film in the history of Polish cinema. In the films that followed, Innocent Sorcerers (1960), a comedy written by Jerzy Skolimowski, and Warsaw (an episode in the anthology film Love at Twenty, 1962) he reflected on the crisis of youth in his country. His next film, the masterly Everything for Sale (1968), a commemorative film about his favourite actor Zbigniew Cybulski who had died in an accident, became one of his most personal films. He returned to the theme of war in Landscape after Battle (1970), inspired by a literary work, as was The Birch Wood (1971) in which he showed a new interest in introspective cinema. In  Man of Marble (1977), The Conductor (1980, with John Gielgud) and Man of Iron (1981), he turned to contemporary Poland, developing important metaphors of political power – themes that in Danton (1982), with Gérard Depardieu, he addressed through the filter of history and the French Revolution. Between Dostoyevsky – The Possessed (1988) and Miss Nobody (1996), he directed Korczak (1990), set in the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation, which anticipated Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. In 2006 Wajda won the Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2007 he made Katyn. In this film, which won the Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film, Wajda (whose father Jakub was one of the victims) tells the story of the massacre of 22,000 Polish officers and soldiers, murdered in the forest of Katyn in 1940 on Stalin’s orders.