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Andrzej Wajda: History, Politics, and Nostalgia in Polish Cinema
by Janina Falkowska
Berghahn Books, December 2006

The work of Andrzej Wajda, one of the world’s most important filmmakers, shows remarkable cohesion in spite of the wide-ranging scope of his films, as this impressive study of his complete output of feature films shows. Not only do his films address crucial historical, social and political issues; the complexity of his work is reinforced by the incorporation of the elements of major film and art movements such as Socialist Realism, Italian Neo-realism, the documentary tradition, French New Wave, Surrealism, the grotesque, the theatre of the absurd, film propaganda, the Polish Romantic tradition, and many other artistic phenomena (jazz, Polish student subculture, etc.). It is the remarkable reworking of all these different elements by Wajda, as the author skillfully shows, which gives his films their unique visual and aural qualities.

Janina Falkowska is Professor in the Film Studies Department at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, specializing in East-Central European and Western European cinemas. Her publications include The Political Films of Andrzej Wajda (Berghahn Books 1996), National Cinemas in Postwar East-Central Europe (ed.), and, co-authored with Marek Haltof, The New Polish Cinema (Flicks Books 2003).