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Venice to Pay Tribute to Andrzej Wajda

Helmer's 'Walesa, Man of Hope' plays in Venice

LONDON — The Venice Film Festival is to fete Polish helmer-scripter Andrzej Wajda with the Persol prize, which celebrates a “legend of international cinema.”

The ceremony will be held on Sept. 5 in the Sala Grande of the Palazzo del Cinema. It will be followed by the screening, Out of Competition, of Wajda’s new film, “Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei” (Walesa, Man of Hope), a tribute to Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

Fest kudos won by Wajda include the special jury prize at Cannes for “Kanal” in 1957, the international critics’ award at Venice for “Popiol i diament” (Ashes and Diamonds) in 1958 and the Palme d’Or at Cannes for “Man of Iron” in 1981.

Four films by Wajda were nommed for a foreign-language pic Oscar: “The Promised Land” (1975), “The Young Girls of Wilko” (1979), “Man of Iron” (1981) and “Katyn” (2007), which won the Golden Globe.

Wajda was awarded the Berlin Golden Bear for lifetime achievement in 2006, the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at Venice in 1998, and an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2000.

Venice director, Alberto Barbera, said: “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 60-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.”

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