Happy 86th birthday, Andrzej Wajda! “Why should I be a pessimist?”


From "Katyn"

Today is the 86th birthday of the renowned Academy award-winning Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda, of Ashes and Diamonds, Danton, Korczak, and Katyń  fame.

Three film clips to celebrate the occasion, courtesy Web of Stories.  Go for the full collection of clips here.

Wajda received an honorary Oscar in 2000, and said as he received the award:

From "Korczak"

“I will speak in Polish because I want to say what I think and feel and I always thought and felt in Polish.

“I accept this great honor not as a personal tribute, but as a tribute to all of Polish cinema.

“The subject of many of our films was the war, the atrocities of Nazism and the tragedies brought by communism.

“This is why today I thank the American friends of Poland and my compatriots for helping my country rejoin the family of democratic nations, rejoin the Western civilizations, its institutions and security structures.

“My fervent hope is that the only flames people will encounter will be the great passions of the heart – love, gratitude and solidarity.”


“Since Agnieszka Holland [the director recently nominated for an Oscar herself – ED.] had helped me on Danton, being in Paris at that time, and also with a few scenes and even directed a bit with me on Love in Germany, I asked her to write the screenplay to Korczak. Agnieszka got very excited then because she wasn’t able to make any films herself, so this screenplay was a substitute for her active membership in cinema. She wrote a beautiful, very vivid screenplay about a doctor from that time when the fate of an orphanage is being determined during the war.”


“There will be no summary”: “And as long as I feel that I had the next work to look forward to, that I have sufficient strength, health, desire and conviction, that I can still say something about what’s happening around me, then my feeling is that it’s too soon to provide a summary.”


On the future: “Why should I be a pessimist, why should I think badly? And even if I do think that way, why shouldn’t I take part in the things that are happening, in various ways?”

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