Directed by Andrzej Wajda (Katyn), this watchable biopic recounts approximately a decade in the life of Lech Walesa, the Gdansk shipyard worker who led the Solidarity movement against the Communist government and eventually became the first president of a democratic Poland. Wajda makes a concerted effort to portray this national hero as a man of flesh and blood, even taking up the controversial charge that Walesa informed on his colleagues to the secret police after the December 1970 strikes at the Gdansk Shipyard. Yet the steely dissident, played by Robert Wieckiewicz, never really comes into focus as a private person. By limiting the narrative to the most heroic period in his life, and completely omitting his rocky presidential administration and Poland’s transition to capitalism, Wajda tends to simplify Walesa despite the director’s stated ambition to confront the Polish people with a more complicated figure. In Polish with subtitles.
Walesa, Man of Hope
2 hours 7 min • 2013