Numerous celebrities attended Palace Ukraine that evening: former Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tigipko held court in the lobby, and former President Viktor Yushchenko strode on stage to present a lifetime achievement award to German director Ulrich Seidl and to give a speech hailing Molodist for bringing the world to Ukraine. A huge troop of Ukrainian dancers and singers intoned timeless native standards in rippling harmonics, and actress Nataliya Sumska surprised the audience with a short aria.
The contradictory nature of Walesa is
vividly portrayed by actor Robert Wieckiewicz – at once a rabble rouser, a
fighter, a devoted husband, a gifted speaker and a pain in the butt.
The brutality of the Communist system – the
coercion, co-option, and corruption, the police visits, blackmail, threats, and
beatings – is graphically displayed and underscores the deep courage it took to
stay the course. Real locations are used in the Gdansk shipyards, and
Wieckiewicz’s face is sometimes integrated onto historical footage.