Interview, Andrej Wajda, Director, Katyn

By Editorial Team • Published on March 6, 2008

After Katyn — a political film — I wanted to return to psychological cinema: Wajda

Katyn, the latest film by Polish master Andrej Wajda was premiered at Berlin. Mumbai will witness on Thursday the Asian premier of the Oscar nominated film. Katyn narrates the story of the Polish officers who were murdered near the forest of Katyn by the Soviet secret service NKWD in the spring of 1940. It is also the story of their relatives, many of whom waited for years for the return of their husbands, fathers, sons or brothers.

A still from Katyn (2007)Wajda spoke recently on Katyn with Dorota Hartwich in Berlin. Excerpts of the interview:

Katyn restores a historical truth and exposes a cruel cover-up – a lie that is still circulated – but the film is also inspired by your own family tragedy, as you waited for the return of your father who had disappeared. Was it difficult to combine these two perspectives?

Andrzej Wajda: Yes, and it’s precisely for these reasons that it took several years to complete the film. In the end, the film is made up of selected scenes and dialogues gleaned from diaries, memories and the correspondence exchanged between the murdered officers and their wives.

Who is the film’s intended audience? The families affected by the trauma of Katyn or those who are unaware of the significance of the event?

Andrzej Wajda: The families whose lives have been affected by Katyn know the truth only too well. My film is therefore intended for young Polish audiences who are not familiar with the event and for whom it remains shrouded in mystery. The film is also aimed at older viewers who, at the time of the Popular Republic of Poland were fed nothing but lies about what happened.

What is the reaction of young audiences to the film? Have they reacted in the way you expected?
Andrzej Wajda: Yes, absolutely. This is borne out by the long silence that follows the end of the film’s screening.

Are the characters in the film based on real people or are they fictive?
Andrzej Wajda: For the most part, the characters are based on real people — for instance, the wife of General Smorawinski or the Krakow University professor and his wife. The other characters are a combination of real and fictive individuals, such as the Soviet major Popov, whose name and past are authentic.

Did you have a clear idea about how the film would unfold right from the start?
Andrzej Wajda: No. The tragedy which took place in the forest of Katyn can be explored in different ways. But I constantly had to remind myself that this was the first film to focus on the subject.

What was the most difficult aspect of making the film?
Andrzej Wajda: Getting it off the ground was the most difficult part… Starting to make a film without having access to a completed screenplay.

In May or June, shooting will begin on your new film — an adaptation of Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz’s short story Tatarak. This isn’t the first time you’ve turned to Iwaszkiewicz’s prose for inspiration.
That’s right. After Katyn — a political film — I wanted to return to psychological cinema, centering on the woman as subject. Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz’s prose is a wonderful source of inspiration for this type of cinema.

(Dorota Hartwich for Cineuropa)

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12 Responses to “Interview, Andrej Wajda, Director, Katyn”

  1. let us be correct about HOLOCAUST

    25m Soviets killed in Jew-financed BARBAROSSA is – oh well

    50m Chinese killed in 2WW – oh well

    6m ??? jews HOLOCAUST – really

    1348 days to Flower on HOLOCAUST Altar for Apollo
    London Holy Games in Honour of Apollo

  2. Why is the Jew telling lies about HOLOCAUST?
    There are many Alarts – we have Altars in our churches – RC -COE – Jew Synagogue and others
    In Antiquity – Ancestors used to offer sacrifices –
    40 years ago – Resurrecting worship of Aphrodite Pandemos at Charington Street squat – I and other worshippers – we went by car to Ashford Kent cattle market bought a lamb – brought it to the squat – I slaughtered the lamb – the lamb was roasted in fire – part of the lamb was put in fire Whole Burn Offering
    Pray Gods in Heaven – Pray God Hephaestos guard us – we Pray and take part in the offering
    That was BLOOD Sacrifice of a Lamb Pray Heavenb guard us
    – that was not WHOLE BURN HOLOCAUST of lamb

    HOLOCAUST Altar is special altar – the Jews had HOLOCAUST Altar – so did Hellas – Inca – Temple of Heaven – HOLOCAUST Altar is one where the offering to Heaven is WHOLE BURN OFFERING to HEAVEN
    – no part offering but WHOLE BURNT OFFERING
    Special HOLOCAUST Altar is needed for WHOLE BURN OFFERING – go Temple of Heaven see
    HOLOCAUST Altar for yourself.

    The Jew had HOLOCAUST Altar – the Jew knows very well what HOLOCAUST Altar is
    — the Jew knows very well NO JEW was burnt on HOLOCAUST Altar in Jew-financed 2WW
    — yet the Jew is telling lies – ripping compensation for ‘HOLOCAUST’ done to jews
    What about claiming compensation from Jews for financing Hitler BARBAROSSAA killing 50m HOLOCAUST Goliath

    No Life on Earth without Immortal God of light Apollo
    No Holy Flame without Immortal God of flame Apollo
    No Holy Games without Immortal God of sports Apollo
    1347 days to Flower on HOLOCAUST Altar for Apollo
    London Holy Games of Apollo

  3. what kind of HOLOCAUST Altar for London Holy Games?


  4. Wajda is polish Jew

    Jew Beria murder polish officers at Katyn

    Jew beria is quiet about involvement of JudaeoFascism in murder of Polish officers at Katyn

    Jew Beria murder polish officers at Katyn
    TelAviv [please say sorry

  5. girl from Poland says:


    :?: :?:

    So much hate… You can’t be so angry because You will get the stomach ulcers. …or maybe You have it now? With all respect but I feel really sorry for You, Sir.

    Shame on You!

    Post scriptum
    Jewish are not scary, that’s the fact ( :wink: ), but You are. Unfortunately.

    With best wishes,
    K.Butkiewicz, Wroc¦ ¡aw (south-west Poland)

  6. Thank you K.Butkiewicz of Wroclaw

    Wajda is Polish Jew.
    Jew Beria murder polish officers at Katyn
    Now polish Jew Wajda is putting the blame on Russians

    Typical JudaeoFascist Divide and Rule

    Another example of Jew perfidity:
    I have recorded in Inca knots a message for my home town Lodz
    Sent it to Secretary of Cultural society in Lodz
    That secretary was Polish Jew
    He – Polish Jew – stole my Knot Letter I recorded for my hometown Lodz
    and he gave it to Tel Aviv
    Now Tel Aviv hung that knotted string over the neck of Rabbin in synagogue
    -stealing from Poland – benefitting JudaeoFascist perfidity in stolen Arab land of Palestine
    — just like Beria
    just like Wajda
    JudaeoFascist perfidity stealing intellectual property – Jew FRAUD.

  7. “Wajda is from jewish descent?” Polska Piesc is asking

    Polska Piesc means Polish Fist! – Jew fist in Polish glove?
    Is TelAviv threatening me for exposing Jew Krohman Wajda Katyn FRAUD?
    No wonder I am afraid to go visit Poland
    I was not afraid to go visit Stalin Lodz
    I was not afraid to go visit MaoZedong Beijing
    I was not afraid to go visit Kim Jong Il Pyongyang
    But I am afraid to go visit the graves of my mum dad brother
    in Jew Krohman Wajda judaeoFascist my hometown Lodz
    Jew Beria murder Polish officers at Katyn – Jew Krohman Wajda accomplice
    Jews penetrated the Kremlin to make World War – murder masses of people
    destabilise the world
    pave the way for Jews to the Arab Land of Palestine

    Now that the Jew is in Palestine
    – just look what David is doing to Goliath
    anyway, thank you Tomek
    – p.p.

  8. PolskaPiž ž ¦ ºž ¡ says:

    Wajda is from jewish descent? First time I hear that, got to ask my father about it – he can point a jew at a mile or so :shock: Pawe¦ ¡, we are catholics, killing people is only right in terms of selfdefence – murdering a whole tribe in our country is something a polish director had to do movies about. Beria though was a filthy one – may he rot in hell!

    Pozdro, Tomek

  9. Why is Polska Piesc threatening to kill me?

    Balfour Declaration
    HM Government promissed the Jews Arab Land of Palestine
    for services rendered

    Jew financiers financing Hitlrer Drang nach Osten
    to exterminate communism

    Hitler Drang nach Osten killing millions

    Murder of Polish officers at Katyn
    The patricipation of NKVD Jews in the murder of Polish officers at Katyn
    was made public in an Israeli paper MA’ARIV July 21,1971
    Polish Jew Wajda blame Russians for Katyn

    Now Polska Piesc is threatening to kill me – Why?
    Is it because I am correcting fabricated history?

    quotes from Polish blogs
    Stalin ordered Jew Beria…
    (Stalin zwrocil sie do… Zyda Lawrentjia Berii
    onet.pl Wiadomosci

    Jews were killing Polish officers
    (…zabitych uklada grupa Zydow…)

    Now we know why Wajda was in a hurry
    (Teraz wiemy dlaczego Wajda tak sie spieszyl)

    …one more thing – what gigantic FRAUD is Wajda claim
    that his father Jakob perished at Katyn
    …Wajda family name is Krohman
    (…i jeszcze dodam – jak wielkim oszustwem jest twierdzenie przez Wajde
    ze jego ojciec Jakob zginal w Katyniu… nazwisko rodowe Wajdy to -Krohman…

  10. michael scott says:

    The film Katyn has obviously aroused some deep feelings. Personally, as an Irishman, I do not feel directly concerned However I was born in 1935 and remember as a child hearing about the heroic Poles, the only nation to refuse both the Nazi and the Communist dictatorships. We know of the immense Jewish suffering under the Nazis. At least most people do, we would perhaps have to exclude Mr Pawlowski. Fewer people know of the Polish suffering, which though obviously it cannot be compared to the Holocaust, was immense. The Nazi occupation of Poland brought about roughly 6 million deaths out of a population of about 30 million. Of this number half are Polish Jews the other half non-Jewish Poles i.e. taking into account non-Jewish Poles alone we have roughly 10% of the population, a huge amount. The Poles fought the Nazi war machine bravely, in Poland but also in the Battle of Britain (where almost 200 Polish pilots sacrificed their lives). Paul Pawlowski’s contribution seems incomprehensible and not only because he has clearly not mastered the English language. Beria was Georgian. Does he even know where Georgia is? I thought someone did some editing in DearCinema. If so they do not seem to have noticed that Mr Pawlowski’s contribution is clearly both abusive and off-topic. The topic incidentally is a magnificent film about a great European tragedy by possibly the world’s greatest film-maker.

  11. Jugu Abraham says:

    Interesting comments, indeed. I grew up as an admirer of Wajda, especially his film “Promised Land”. Katyn, might be a partly hushed-up event. I was amazed that Wajda could switch his tunes so radically after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For me the cinema of “Katyn” was not a patch on the vibrancy of the “Promised Land.” The “Promised Land” might never have earned an Oscar nomination as Katyn did for the reasons of the subject matter it dealt with–yet the cinema was far superior to “Katyn.”

  12. michael scott says:

    Preferences are a matter of taste so they are hard to judge. The subject matter of The Promised Land referred to in Jugu Abraham’s post is the corruption engendered by capitalism in nineteenth century Poland . I would have thought that this would have been rather standard material in the Communist era, hardly worthy of the term “vibrant” but nor does it make Wajda a Communist. Why does J. Abraham think Wajda changed his tune after the fall of the Berlin Wall? Ashes and Diamonds (1958) among other films indicates early criticism on Wajda’s part of Communism. Naturally after the demise of Poland’s Communist dictatorship, and Communist censorship, artists had more freedom of expression. Perhaps this is the change Mr Abraham refers to, and regrets.

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