Quick recap: A young filmmaker tries to make a documentary about a former communist hero but instead finds a lot of depressing facts instead.
Fun (?) fact: Bricklaying competitions were totally a thing, probably because there wasn’t much else to do.
Thoughts and observations:
Despite not understanding what was going on some of the time, I think Man of Marble is an important watch. Essentially, it’s about a man opening his eyes to corruption and finally seeing how government let him down. Mateus Birkut started out as a simple bricklayer, building structures for the Communist party in Poland. One day he is chosen to lead a team of men to a brick laying record. Birkut is adorably confused by the sudden fame and quickly becomes tired of the constant attention. After completing the record, however, he warms up to the idea of being the face of the party. It isn’t until years later that his hands are ruined by sabotage that he realizes being a part of the propaganda machine isn’t what he wanted.
What makes this film unique for me is that the audience learns bits and pieces of the story just like the filmmaker Agnieszca. It reminded me of a limited series podcast, where each episode would be her interviewing an important person at a different time in Birkut’s career in order to work out where he currently is. Actually, her film gets canceled because it makes everyone look bad and only at the very end does she think to track the guy down. Spoiler alert: he’s probably dead. Her fixation on this simple bricklayer is an attainable way to track the horrors of the controlling party at the time. By showing his downfall and entire life ruined, she is also essentially filming the downfall of Communism.
Watchability score: 4/5
Up next: When Harry Met Sally