Andrzej Wajda is considered one of Poland's - many would say the world's - greatest film directors. During the thirty-five years of his activity in film, theatre or television, his work, whether strong or weak, always arouses strong emotions and provokes intense debates in the media. His films deal with historical and political issues concerning Polish character and the nature of political power. Controversial, painful, stimulating and cinematically beautiful, they never fail to fully engage the spectator. This is particularly true for his major political films, which form the basis of the study. Applying Bakhtin's concept of dialogism, the author shows how a creative interaction between the image on the screen and the viewer is established through Wajda's films. At the same time, she offers a detailed analysis of the historical events leading up to the collapse of the Socialist system in Poland.
Janina Falkowska graduated in English from the University of Poznan, Poland, and received her PhD from McGill University. She now teaches film at the University of Western Ontario.