Poland pays homage as Oscar-awarded Wajda laid to rest

KRAKOW, POLAND- Heart-felt messages from Solidarity icon Lech Walesa and Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski were read out over the urn of Andrzej Wajda, as the legend of Polish cinema was laid to rest on Wednesday in Krakow.
"Three generations were raised on the films of Andrzej Wajda and so for millions of Poles, including myself, you will forever remain in your indelible images," Walesa said in a letter read out to hundreds of mourners gathered at a church in the heart of Krakow's mediaeval old town.

A large black-and-white photograph portrait of Wajda was perched on an easel in front of the altar where his steel urn stood.
"Your love of truth, of authenticity, your attention to every detail, made a huge impression on me," Polanski said in his message evoking their friendship that spanned over 60 years.
As a film and acting student in Poland in the 1950s Polanski was Wajda's protege, beginning a career that later took him to Hollywood.
Polanski, who lives in France, also apologised to Wajda's family for not attending the funeral in person.
Polish authorities are currently reconsidering whether to honour a US extradition request for Polanski where he faces sentencing over a 1977 case of statutory rape.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, a native of Krakow, attended the ceremonies that drew hundreds of mourners including top artists and intellectuals but also average Poles who bowed their heads as they filed past his urn.
Wajda was close to Poland's liberal opposition, currently locked in a bitter row with the rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) government over a string of legislative moves that critics allege undermine democracy.
"He resisted the poison of bitterness that he felt recently over politics and public life which contradicted his hopes and vision for Poland," said Henryk Wozniakowski, the head of Poland's Znak publishing house.
Wajda's urn, covered in a bouquet of red roses, was laid to rest in a family plot in the Salwator cemetery, perched on a hillside in a leafy Krakow neighbourhood by the same name.
The Oscar-awarded director died on October 9 in a Warsaw hospital of lung failure after being in a medically-induced coma for days.

Thursday, October 20th 2016

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