Walesa, half- peasant, half- workman who became a king; not because he grew above his country roots, but because he stayed close to them. That was the foundation of his enormous success, but also of his spectacular failures. He managed to combine the sober voice of reason with unparalleled vulgarity: the former elevated him above the rest, the latter made it hard to believe.

When Lech Walesa turned into a strike leader in the shipyards of Gdansk (Poland) in 1980, 10 million people soon joined him. This paved the way to the first peaceful overthrow of a Communist regime in our contemporary history. The young electrician proved to be a creator of history and stayed in this role from then on. During his career, Lech Walesa experienced it all, from adoration to humiliation and hatred but he never stopped to impress folks with his sharp judgments and apt and often witty one-liners. He was hitting the right notes, at the right time.

He could make the crowd dance to any of his unpredictable tunes. He could use with no hesitation a joke, an argument, some pathos or a little lie. And the masses followed him with no questions asked, as if hypnotized.

First, I admired him. Then I laughed at him. Then I was ashamed of him. Now I have come to understand it all, I appreciate and I am proud that we have him says director Andrzej Fidyk.

His sense of “Walesa by Walesa” is simple: help him make a documentary on himself. During long conversations, he’ll be giving specific instructions: what elements and from which angle should be contained in a movie on Lech Walesa. For what he should be praised, which subjects should not be talked about, and what about him might be criticized.

Andrzej Fidyk

Andrzej Fidyk, born in 1953 is a Polish documentary filmmaker and producer. His best-known work is his 1989 documentary Defilada (The Parade), which depicts the mass parades choreographed to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1988.

He first started working for television in 1980, since when he has made over 40 documentary films shown primarily on Polish and British television. From 1991 to 1996 he worked for the BBC in the Music and Arts Department. Between 1996 and 2004 he was Head of Documentaries at Polish Television.



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