Asendup of Andrzej Wajda’s late ’70s classics “Man of Marble” and “Man of Iron,” this is a broad parody of Polish political reforms (or lack thereof) in the wake of the Solidarity movement that bludgeons its points with a sledgehammer.
Fest auds savvy to Central European events and the Wajda originals may get a chuckle out of this freewheeling and irreverent tale that takes Polish media, public officials, political agitators and the church to task. Pic could also score in specialized venues and classrooms as a rowdy complement to the Wajda pix.
In Warsaw, 1982, plucky blond film school grad Anna (Agata Kulesza) wants to make a film about censorship but is arrested on trumped-up charges along with hapless hero Marek (Slawomir Pacek). Rather than iron or marble, Marek is wimpiness personified.
Returning from French exile in 1989, Anna is drafted into making a Polish TV docu and decides to get to the bottom of what became of Marek. As Anna conducts interviews with various smooth officials, Marek’s utterly minor contribution is illuminated via flashbacks of clandestine meetings, imprisonment and a romance with perky fellow activist Marie.
Tragicomic treatment was prompted by helmer Konrad Szolajski’s experiences with censorship and half-baked reform on Polish TV.
Material was first published as a satirical novel, “The Man of Flesh and Blood,” in order to give Szolajski leverage with the Ministry of Culture, which was reluctant to fund a pic that Wajda reportedly opposed.