Polish Director Andrzej Wajda's 'Walesa, Man of Hope' to Get U.K., Ireland Release

3:11 AM PST 09/11/2013 by Nick Holdsworth
Robert Wieckiewicz plays Lech Walesa in "Walesa, Man of Hope"

The film was absent Poland's Gydnia National Film Festival due to regional rivalries, but will premiere in Warsaw on Sept. 21.

GYDNIA, Poland -- Polish director Andrzej Wajda's biopic of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa -- the man credited with sparking the domino collapse of Communism across Eastern Europe -- is to get its first release outside Poland, in the U.K. and Ireland next month.

Walesa, Man of Hope, which had its world premiere in Venice and is screening at the Toronto Film Festival ahead of its national premiere in Warsaw on Sept. 21, is due for a London Film Festival slot Oct. 11 before rolling out at cinemas in London, Belfast and Dublin on Oct. 18, distributors Project London told The Hollywood Reporter.

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All cities have significant Polish migrant populations that were likely to be among audiences, Pawel Jodlowski, Project London's managing director said.

The film follows the at times controversial story of the Gdansk dockyard worker who founded the pro-Democracy movement Solidarity and struggled with Poland's communist authorities and the imposition of martial law in the early 1980s.

Starring Robert Wieckiewicz as Walesa and Agnieszka Grochowska as his wife Danuta, the making of the film has long been an ambition of 86-year-old Wajda, who himself was an active Solidarity supporter.

Walesa became Poland's first post-communist president and went onto win the Nobel Peace Prize. Solidarity's peaceful revolution has been credited with setting off the chain reaction of events that lead to the collapse of communist regimes across eastern Europe in 1989 and contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union two years later.

Conspicuous by its absence at this week's Gydnia Film Festival, Poland's annual review of national features, the 127-minute movie is due for a special Gdansk screening on Oct. 4.

Polish film industry sources said rivalry between civic leaders in Gydnia, a Baltic sea resort around 15 miles from Gdansk, was the reason it was not being screened during the festival.

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