Man of Marble : Polish Films in Howick

August 26, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Polish Heritage Trust Museum
125 Elliot St
Howick, Auckland 2014
New Zealand
Entry by donation, Thank you
Museum staff
09 533 3530


In 1976, a young woman, Agnieszka is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of Birkut, at how that heroism was created, and what became of him. She gets hold of out takes and censored footage and interviews the man’s friends, ex-wife, and the filmmaker who made him a hero.

The film chronicles the fall from grace of a fictional heroic Polish bricklayer, Mateusz Birkut, who became the symbol of an over-achieving worker in Nowa Huta, a new socialist city created in the 1950’s near Krakow. Dozens of men were lined up in the mud in a food line. There are no women to be seen. The men are housed in barracks. When presented with a single fish on a plate for lunch, they begin spontaneously to pelt the Party Official with the fish and succeed in driving him out. Birkut is one of these workers…

It is a surprise that Wajda would have been able to make such a film, revealing the use of propaganda and political corruption during the period of Stalinism.