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Andrzej Wajda appropriates the structure of Citizen Kane to mount as frank an attack on Stalinist ethics as possible in an Eastern European film in 1976. The mechanics of socialist mythology are explored as an ambitious filmmaker (Krystyna Janda, manic and bizarre) delves into the fate of a worker-hero who fell from official favor. Immortalized in a marble statue, he survives as an archetype while melting away as an individual. Wajda makes fine use of the investigative format in telling his story, but many of the incidental points are unclear, and the ending, pruned by the Polish censors, is totally unsatisfying. Late Wajda is a matter of plot, statement, and little else; his characters are merely functional, his camera style uninteresting. But the material here is compelling, for all its lack of resolution, and the film sustains interest throughout its 165-minute running time. In Polish with subtitles. 153 min.

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