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Man of Marble

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G
1976

Man of Marble is a 1977 Polish masterpiece film directed by Andrzej Wajda, a renowned director of Polish film. The movie tells the story of a young film student, Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda), who sets out to make a documentary film about the life and work of Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwilowicz), a legendary bricklayer from the Stalinist era who was celebrated as the perfect example of a heroic worker with exemplary behavior.

Agnieszka becomes fascinated with the character of Birkut after finding a fragment of his biography in some research documents. Her research takes her across Poland and ultimately, she finds Birkut working as a carpenter in obscurity, forgotten by the state that once celebrated him. Agnieszka interviews Birkut's old colleagues, friends, and acquaintances, who share their fond memories of him. She also talks to several of his former bosses, who reveal the darker side of the story.

The story of Mateusz Birkut, a man with humble roots who rose to become a bricklayer, a union leader, and a hero of the socialist revolution came at a great personal cost. The documentary exposes how the state and the party manipulated and exploited Birkut to fit a pre-determined narrative, tearing up relationships, family, and legacy. The film exposes the corruption and abuses of power of the Stalinist era in Poland.

Agnieszka sets out to tell the truth of Mateusz Birkut's life, to provide a platform for him to speak for himself but is constantly hampered by those who want to maintain the status quo. The shooting of the documentary becomes a story of subversion, resistance, and working in the margins. The film is narrated as a mixture of footage from the documentary and scenes from the making of it, creating a remarkable, multi-layered tapestry.

Man of Marble's compelling story, combined with Wajda's masterful direction, makes it a classic of Polish cinema. It is a film that speaks about a specific time and place without losing its universal appeal. The story of Birkut reflects the lives of many people who suffered the consequences of the state's totalitarian regime, burying their dreams, and sacrificing their lives at the altar of socialist progress. The film also speaks about the power of storytelling as an instrument of politics, the role of propaganda in shaping national mythology, and the importance of history and the need for honest historical accounts.

The performances in "Man of Marble" are outstanding. Jerzy Radziwilowicz, who portrays Mateusz Birkut, gives a powerful performance, capturing both the passionate idealism and deep sense of betrayal the character feels. His dedication and passion inspire his fellow workers and lodgers, which further highlights the high regard in which he is held. Krystyna Janda, who plays the lead role of Agnieszka, is excellent as the idealistic young filmmaker, who puts everything on the line to bring Birkut's story to light. Her conviction and quest for truth are the driving force behind the story, making her an inspiring character to follow. Tadeusz Lomnicki's performance, as the famous journalist Jerzy Burski, is also noteworthy. He plays a pivotal role in exposing the dark and corrupt corners of the socialist regime.

In conclusion, Man of Marble is a powerful, moving, and timeless film that carries an enduring significance. It is a rare blend of history, politics, art, and humanity, which strikes a chord with audiences irrespective of their nationality, language, or time. The movie is a seminal classic of Polish cinema, telling a story that is both troubling and inspiring, a story that resonates long after the credits roll. It is a must-see film that deserves to be called a masterpiece.

Man of Marble is a Drama movie released in 1976. It has a runtime of 165 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.7..

7.7/10
Director
Andrzej Wajda
Stars
Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Radziwiowicz, Tadeusz Lomnicki
Genres
Also starring Staz Nair
Also starring Kabir Bedi
Man of Marble is available on .