Friday, August 21, 2015

623. Czlowiek z marmuru/Man of Marble (1977)

Running Time: 165 minutes
Directed By: Andrzej Wajda
Written By: Aleksander Scibor-Rylski
Main Cast: Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Jacek Lomnicki, Michal Tarkowski
Click here to view the trailer

Note: Someone asked me the other day what I planned to end with and asked if I was "just going to let it happen", to which I replied, "yeah, pretty much". Anyway, it got me to thinking - perhaps I'll end with the Monty Python movies? I figure with what I have left it's just a good a pair of movies to end with as any and instead of ending on a serious note, I'd be ending on the most unserious note possible. Nothing's set in stone, but as of now, this is what I'm thinking of ending with.

However, as far as upcoming movies go - according to my count there are currently ten movies left that are over two hours. So here's the plan: I'll review those ten movies, then do Cassavetes Week and then start picking off whatever's left until we get to the end. Now then...


Technically, I should've done these other two Wajda flicks back when I did Ashes and Diamonds and did a Wajda Hat Trick, but apparently I wasn't thinking about it at the time and now it's too late. However, Man of Marble and Man of Iron go together, so this also works. Also, a Wajda Hat Trick could've been really difficult to get through, judging on my opinions of Ashes and Diamonds and now, of this.

If you want the plot of Man of Marble, think Citizen Kane and we'll go from there. Krystyna Janda (looking great here) plays young filmmaker Agnieszka, who wants to make a movie on the life of Mateusz Birkut (Radziwilowicz), a bricklayer turned anti-communist. The whole thing is set up, sort of, like half documentary, half fictitious film. We get faked newsreel footage, showing us Birkut setting the world, team bricklaying record and even bits & pieces of earlier "films" that were made about the life of Birkut. However, Agnieszka wants to dig deeper, so she begins interviewing people who were close to him, trying to find out answers to her queries. She first interviews the man who directed the earlier films on Birkut's life and is then bounced around from person to person, getting more and more information each time. Even the most rudimentary film watcher will be able to spot the similarities to Kane, as we meet someone and then get a piece of the history, where we see them as a younger person. All signs point to Birkut either being in deep hiding or dead. By film's end, Agnieszka is just as gung ho to find Birkut's only son, Maciej. She finally finds him at film's end, which I guess leads into Man of Iron.

I mean, I guess it was okay. I know I'll sound like a broken record, but I try to treat every review as if someone is reading it for the first time and doesn't know my personal taste profile or preferred viewing habits. Let's just say it kept me interested enough, even though it was about pieces of history that I'm entirely oblivious to. Communits, anti-communist, Polish workers movement, etc. - when words and phrases like that play such a pivotal role in the plot synopsis of a given title, you can pretty much bet I'm not going to like it. However, I will give kudos to Wajda for AT LEAST trying to make it interesting and even giving film fans something to cheer about by tying in heavy references to Citizen Kane (not that I'm the biggest Kane fan either). The movie is two and a half hours and to be honest, at no point did my attention span wane or did I get overly bored. I won't say I didn't get bored at all, just that I didn't get OVERLY bored. For the most part, I liked the technique that was used, treating Birkut as if he were a 100% real character, to the point that when the movie ended, I actually cared enough to look to see if he was real or fictional. He's fictional for the curious, but I'd be willing to bet he's heavily based on someone real. The film is significant for me though, for introducing me to Krystyna Janda, who was really great here and probably 95% of the reason my attention never wanted to wander elsewhere. She was pretty and a terrific actress to boot. I promptly added a movie called Interrogation to my watch list and in a very small way, look forward to Man of Iron. Otherwise, not much to get excited about here.

RATING: 4/10  I feel like Man of Iron and the two films of Ritwik Ghatak are going to be big hurdles to get over and then it'll be smooth sailing for a little while. I'll happily be proved wrong, however.


August 21, 2015  5:15pm


  1. Sorry, a bit of a gap in replies...It's the time in the season where I'm feeling rather worn out and drained. Putting inteligent thoughts together is difficult.
    I'm struggling to remember which is which of this and 'Iron'... I think this is the one I found the more engaging. But I guess this is a more 'me' film than an Adrew film.. History (European to boot), political... So not overly surprised by your '4' .. but having read through your review I was thinking we were heading to something a little higher.

    1. Yeah, nothing special here. Sorry if my review was misleading...

      You know, I was just wondering the other day if people actually read my reviews or just looked at the rating. Nice to know my suspicions were wrong...

      Thanks Ray


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