Oscar-winning Polish film director Andrzej Wajda dies at 90

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.

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.

It was his most overtly political film, made in a flowering of openness after Solidarity’s initial successes. When martial law was imposed in late 1981 the authorities banned the film and tried to prevent it being nominated for an Oscar.

In 2000, Wajda received an Academy Honorary Award 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.

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