7.5/10
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10 user 11 critic

Man of Iron (1981)

Czlowiek z zelaza (original title)
A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Agnieszka
...
Winkel
Wieslawa Kosmalska ...
Wieslawa Hulewicz
Irena Byrska ...
Matka Hulrwicz
...
Dzidek
...
Lech Walesa
Anna Walentynowicz ...
Anna Walentynowicz
Jerzy Borowczak ...
Stanislaw J. Borowczak (as Stanislaw J. Borowczak)
Zbigniew Lis ...
Zbigniew Lis
Teodor Kudla ...
Teodor Kudla
...
Badecki
...
Z-Ca Szefa
...
Kapt. Wirski
...
Grzenda
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Storyline

A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. In Warsaw in 1980, the Party sends Winkel, a weak, alcoholic TV hack, to Gdansk to dig up dirt on the shipyard strikers, particularly on Maciek Tomczyk, an articulate worker whose father was killed in the December 1970 protests. Posing as sympathetic, Winkel interviews people who know Tomczyk, including his detained wife, Agnieszka. Their narrations become flashbacks using actual news footage of 1968 and 1970 protests and of the later birth of free unions and Solidarity. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

27 July 1981 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Man of Iron  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first, and so far the only, sequel to win the Golden Palm at Cannes Film Festival. It was also the first Polish film to win this prize - the second was Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" in 2002. See more »

Quotes

[to Maciek and Agnieszka at their wedding]
Lech Walesa: I trust you will be a democratic couple, so let me share these flowers democratically.
See more »

Connections

Follows Czlowiek z marmuru (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballada o Janku Wisniewskim
Music by Andrzej Korzynski
Lyrics by M. Cholwa
Performed by Krystyna Janda (vocal), Jacek Kaczmarski (guitar), Przemyslaw Gintrowski (guitar)
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User Reviews

 
Inferior than its predecessor but a good film anyway
6 March 2011 | by See all my reviews

Poland's historical and turbulent political moment is captured in a part documentary and part fiction film directed by Andrzej Wajda in "Man of Iron", a sequel of "Man of Marble" another classic directed by him. The film is very similar to its predecessor, which is a very good film and that's why to some it might seen a repetitive thing, except that this one took a more political approach to the story, seemed more real the situations presented. It is inferior than the previous film but it is very good too.

Here, a reporter has the assignment to cover shipyard strikers led by Maciej Tomczyk (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) and members of the Solidarity Union that are fighting for better work conditions and against the abuses of political authorities. The reporter is told by his bosses to make the news about this man and other people will take his notes and all to make something against the leader, something to make him look bad, but while covering the protests, and finding more and more information about Maciej's past, the reporter gets divided by the whole situation without knowing in which side to stay: with his controlling bosses that work for the government or with the strikers.

Wajda uses the same technique to present the story by developing flashbacks that tells us the life of Maciej, and more interesting, he concludes the almost inconclusive story of "Man of Marble" (the ending scene from that film appears in "Man of Iron" in the middle and from there we are able to see what happened to those characters, asking some questions about the film made by the documentary). To fully understand "Man of Iron" watch the 1977 film is necessary, otherwise it will be a confusing and difficult experience to understand the characters motivations, emotions, the political background (also you need to research more about what happened in Poland between 1960's and 1980's).

I liked this film because of its involvement with a noble cause which was the strikes made by the Solidarity Union and the way Wajda was able to use this to make a relevant sequel of a great film yet is not a movie "selling" a group, or a political movement; it is a statement of how things were changing and who were the people behind these changes. Wajda directed this film during the controversial period, after all the government tended to persecute his oppositors and this film could be considered as a opposite propaganda, so the director took a lot of chance to make this wonderful film, a situation that resembles the one confronted by the female filmmaker in "Man of Marble", who is trying to make a film thesis about Maciej's father but she doesn't get enough assistance from her bosses that work for the Socialist regime.

The importance of this film was big enough during the time of its release since there was a sense of lack of information about how Solidarity was changing things in Poland, and a movie like this, that combines archive footage of the real events, and includes a cameo by Lech Walesa, was important to make their cause famous around the world. The great prestige was the Palm D'Or at Cannes, something that was viewed by many as a recognition to the movement and not much of stating that this was a great film. Indeed, I think that it combines both, since both were triumphant and Walesa few years away would be elected Poland's President.

The things that made this an inferior film compared to the previous film is the political subject and the way it was used in the film, in extended dialogues and scenes that were a little distracting, and some confusion in the presentation. The screenplay covered a more complex subject and intertwine the flashbacks reminding us about some of the characters and bring back memories from the first film. As you see, it's very difficult to put altogether, but the film succeeds in its great message. More of the humanistic aspect of being involved in solidarity and strikes than the far too rational political theme would make this film ten times better than it is. As both films points out, knowing the past is very important so that we can built a better future, and viewers, pay attention to the past moments presented here, so that you can understand their future and all of their struggle. 9/10


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