How was it possible for one person to change the world so dramatically? It is as much a political as a psychological question. Wajda, intruding into a private, even intimate sphere of the trade union’s leader, attempts to capture the phenomenon of this incredible metamorphosis: from a simple worker, focused on his day-to-day duties, into a charismatic leader. This controversial persona, himself not without flaws, helped millions set free their dreams of freedom they’d been hiding deep in their hearts, setting the stage for transformations beyond anyone’s imagination at the time.
And yet, Wałęsa’s story does not only have this one psychological or local dimension. It is embedded in the context of international politics. The life of a simple electrician, at first fighting for his fellow workers’ rights, only echoes some remote events, until it is Wałęsa himself and millions of his fellow countrywomen and men that become world news for several years to come.
This historical perspective, combined with a dynamic story of daily life in the Polish People’s Republic, should help comprehend the phenomenon of those transformations. The film is mainly addressed to young people, at the same time constituting a reminder of an outstanding filmmaker. Sometimes you must fight for freedom, sometimes you must defend it, there are, however, no circumstances which could excuse you from contemplating our freedom.