Oscar-winning Polish film director Wajda dies aged 90

Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:11am EDT
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By Marcin Goettig

WARSAW (Reuters) - Film director Andrzej Wajda, best known for chronicling Poland's struggle for democracy during half a century of communist rule, has died at the age of 90.

Wajda won international acclaim for "Man of Iron" (1981), which tells the story of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement, and the film's subversive predecessor "Man of Marble" (1977).

Fans, film-makers and political leaders rushed online to pay tribute after his death was announced late on Sunday.

"We all stem from Wajda. We looked at Poland and at ourselves through him. And we understood better. Now it will be more difficult," Poland's former prime minister and the current head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said on social media.

Communist authorities censored the "Man of Marble", angered by its portrayal of political corruption in the early 1950s Stalinist period, shown through the fall from grace of a Stakhanovite bricklayer.

"Man of Iron," which portrays the 1980 strikes that led to the creation of the Solidarity union and the fall of communism, was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes festival.

In 2000, Wajda received an Academy Honorary Award in 2000, in recognition of five decades of work, the first eastern European director to win the lifetime achievement Oscar.

Wajda's films also won a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and four nominations for Academy Awards, among other prizes.   Continued...

Oscar-winning Polish film director Andrzej Wajda smiles as he speaks to Reuters during an interview at Akson Studio office in Warsaw August 13, 2013.  Wajda died Sunday night aged 90, according to local media.    REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo