Andrzej Wajda, Polish Academy Award-Winning Director, Dies at 90

  • Wajda awarded Oscar in 2000 for lifetime achievement in movies
  • Filmmaker hailed for depicting Poland’s turbulent history

Andrzej Wajda, the legendary Polish filmmaker whose chronicles of Poland’s history won him an Oscar in 2000 for lifetime achievement, has died. He was 90.

Wajda died in a hospital on Sunday of lung failure after being in a medically-induced coma for days, AFP news service reported, citing an unnamed family friend. His assistant Monika Lang wasn’t immediately available for comment on Monday.

Wajda filmed 44 full-length movies, including “Canal,” a 1957 grim depiction of the last days of the Warsaw Uprising which became his international breakthrough. His most recent movies included “Walesa. Man of Hope,” which chronicled the leader of shipyard workers’ protests in 1980 and “Katyn,” a painful portrait of the Soviet massacre on more than 21,000 Polish soldiers during World War II, including Wajda’s father Jakub.

“We all were looking at Poland and ourselves through Wajda’s cinematography,” Donald Tusk, former Polish prime minister and the European Union president said on its Twitter after the news of Wajda’s death surfaced. “And that allowed us to better understand that all. Now it will be more difficult.”

The filmmaker is survived by his wife Krystyna Zachwatowicz and daughter Karolina.

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