Polish Cinema: Andrzej Wajda: Let's Shoot! (Maciej Cuske/Thierry Paladino/Marcin Sauter/Piotr Stasik, 2009, Poland)

Andrzej Wajda: Let's Shoot! is an hour-long documentary showcasing the famed Polish auteur at work on his 2007 film Katyn. A deeply emotional film for Wajda, whose father perished at the hands of the NKVD in the titular massacre of Polish officers, Katyn is one of the director's latter works - he passed away in 2016. Let's Shoot (Róbmy zdjecie! - a common refrain heard from Wajda throughout the doc) explores Wajda directing various scenes throughout the film. Interspersed with these scenes, Wajda provides voiceover narration that outlines his philosophy of moviemaking. The result is an intriguing portrait of a great director.

Those who have seen Katyn and note its weighty themes might be surprised to see that the trivialities behind the scenes are much like any other film. A particularly amusing scene showcases Wajda's frustration while filming a battle scene on a snowy street. He yells at the man controlling the snow to stop it. Watching the action of the battle unfold, he critiques the movements of the fighters - one looks like a clown, and one is walking stupidly... Wajda's cantankerous and often coarse commentary on the action of the film is one of the documentary's highlights and showcases the day-to-day grind of making films.

Wajda, who made over 50 films throughout his career, clearly thrives on the work. Even when there are frustrations, he seems to be enjoying himself. "It's a great job," he claims. When the film succeeds, he says, everyone is proud of themselves. When the film fails, it's the director's fault. Yet he prides himself on this ability to carry the film and bring direction and purpose to it. Given Katyn's success, Wajda's hard work seemed to pay off in this case. We see this in the finale at the film's premiere. Let's Shoot! is worth watching for fans of Wajda.



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