Walesa: Man of Hope–New Cut at Karlovy Vary Film Fest

Nobel Prize winner and former Polish President Lech Walesa will attend the Karlovy Vary Film Festival to introduce the world premiere of the director’s cut of Andrzej Wajda’s “Walesa: Man of Hope,” which was created especially for the festival.

The premiere will also be attended by the lead actors Robert Wieckiewicz and Agnieszka Grochowska. The director’s cut was created with the support of Unipetrol, part of Orlen Group, which is among the fest’s partners.

Walesa is one of the key figures of modern European history. The film follows his transformation from an ordinary worker into the charismatic leader of the Solidarity trade union movement. In 1980 he led a strike at the shipyard in Gdansk, and fought for workers’ right to assemble. When martial law was declared in 1981, he was imprisoned and put in isolation. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

During Poland’s transition into a democracy, he played a key role in negotiations between the Communist Party and the opposition. In 1990, he was elected President, a post he held until 1995. His controversial personality continues to spark heated debate today. The movie, which was written by Janusz Glowacki, was a box office hit in Poland.

“I am very well aware of the fact that ‘Walesa’ is the most difficult topic I have ever come across in my 55-year film career,” Wajda said. “Nonetheless, no director has made a film about him that I found satisfactory, so I simply had no choice.”

The Walesa film connects with Wajda’s 1981 film “Man of Iron,” which dealt with events surrounding the rise of Solidarity and the strike at the Gdansk shipyards. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and was Oscar nommed for the best foreign film.

The festival runs July 4-12.