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Man Of Marble [DVD] [1976]

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009W3466
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,813 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD
I have just watched this film for a second time. My Polish teacher lent it to me. My grandfather left Poland just before WWII. I myself have only visited my Polish cousins there once, so I cannot claim to understand this film like my cousins would, having begun their lives under Communism. I am, I know, an interested outsider. As such, the film is puzzling to begin with because it feels like a propaganda film. Slowly, you realise that it is an anti-propaganda film. We are shown the propaganda and then the reality behind it. As Wajda made this film before the end of Communism in Poland, he leaves a lot uncommented, but you can work it all out for yourself from the story. The viewer is placed in Agnieszka's position as a film student doing a research project. We see all the material she finds, we meet all the people she meets and we must decide for ourselves what to make of it all.

For me, the film title works on various levels. A marble statue is a monument but a monument to what exactly? Does the statue actually reflect a real man or a fictitious figure? What is stronger, the man or the myth? Did the myth immortalise or destroy the man? Mateusz Birkut is betrayed by everyone close to him, but most of all he is betrayed by the system. An ex-secret service officer comments that Mateusz took things too "literally" - he believed in building houses for all and in the value of the worker. As the film progresses, this idealism begins to seem ridiculously naive in the face of a cold machine and petty individuals. The system betrays people like Mateusz, the people it is supposed to exist to serve. Mateusz remains brave and loyal throughout but he is like the tree in blossom we see knocked down by a bulldozer early in the film.
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Format: DVD
In this film, Wajda explores the world of propaganda film, the glorification of the worker, and the reality that lies behind it. Birkut (played with total conviction by Jerzy Radzwilowicz) is built up as a worker's hero in Stalinist Poland because a person making a film wants to prove, for propaganda purposes, that Birkut can lay more bricks than anyone else, and so he is challenged to reach a new record figure. Many years later, a young film student, Agnieszka, played with just the right mix of idealism and strong-headedness by the great Krystyna Janda, is puzzled why Birkut should have fallen from favour with the authorities, and starts to uncover a can of worms turned into a nest of vipers by corruption, propaganda, and the Communist system. Wajda here is at his most openly critical of totalitarianism, and when the film first came out to rave reviews, he was admired for the bravery of his vision. A must for anyone trying to understand what living under Eastern bloc Communism was really like, and a gripping story too, with some shocking moments. This is the reason why many Poles don't want to watch the movie any more - ironically, the highest compliment that can be given. It is too close to the truth that many people in this now thoroughly Westernised country would rather forget.
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Format: DVD
I'm not really sure how this film got made, considering that it is so critical of communism, communist propaganda and a lot of other systems that were in place in Poland in the 1970s, but I'm very glad that it did. I'd heard a lot about it from various sources before watching it, and so was quite apprehensive that it wouldn't live up to the press, but it did. I was expecting a much slower and 'traditionally' more serious film than I got. The film, as I mentioned, covers big themes, but the pace is high. The plot is totally absorbing and a fair bit of the credit for that would have to go to the lead actor and actress, Jerzy Radziwi³owicz and Krystyna Janda.
Radziwi³owicz plays Mateusz Birkut, a bricklayer who is sucked into the communist machinery. While building the infamous Nova Huta (the new communist city near Krakow), he is persuaded to work to break a record of laying more than 30,000 bricks in one shift. He duly does and is elevated to hero status, with posters of him raised around Nova Huta, as well as a marble statue (hence the title of the film). Janda plays a film student trying to make a documentary about Birkut and his times - trying being the optimal word here (I won't say more in order to not give away any more of the plot than I already have). However, I will say that the plot is left wide open at the end, in preparatation for the 'Man of Iron' sequel, which you should definitely buy if you're going to buy 'Man of Marble', because once you've watched this, you'll want to dive straight into the next part.
This a notable piece of work for anyone interested in communism, European cinema or sociology.
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Format: DVD
I'm not really sure how this film got made, considering that it is so critical of communism, communist propaganda and a lot of other systems that were in place in Poland in the 1970s, but I'm very glad that it did. I'd heard a lot about it from various sources before watching it, and so was quite apprehensive that it wouldn't live up to the press, but it did. I was expecting a much slower and 'traditionally' more serious film than I got. The film, as I mentioned, covers big themes, but the pace is high. The plot is totally absorbing and a fair bit of the credit for that would have to go to the lead actor and actress, Jerzy Radziwi³owicz and Krystyna Janda.
Radziwi³owicz plays Mateusz Birkut, a bricklayer who is sucked into the communist machinery. While building the infamous Nova Huta (the new communist city near Krakow), he is persuaded to work to break a record of laying more than 30,000 bricks in one shift. He duly does and is elevated to hero status, with posters of him raised around Nova Huta, as well as a marble statue (hence the title of the film). Janda plays a film student trying to make a documentary about Birkut and his times - trying being the optimal word here (I won't say more in order to not give away any more of the plot than I already have). However, I will say that the plot is left wide open at the end, in preparatation for the 'Man of Iron' sequel, which you should definitely buy if you're going to buy 'Man of Marble', because once you've watched this, you'll want to dive straight into the next part.
This a notable piece of work for anyone interested in communism, European cinema or sociology.
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