S( Ki:i nO, What a Lovely Revolution! or Springtime for LeninnMan of Iron; Written and directed by Andrzej Wajda; United Artists Classics.nReds; Written by Warren Beatty and Trevor Griffiths; Directed by WarrennBeatty; Paramount Pictures.nby Eric ShapearonMan of Iron is both flawed and monumental, deficient and outstanding, disorderlynand memorable. Its script is uneven and often sloppy, yet awe-inspiring innits breadth and integrity. The story line is fuzzy and shallow, but its simple force,nits ability to extract emotions, is overpowering. Its characters are unfinished, wooden,nstereotypic, but they are endowed with an inexplicable warmth. Its central figure,na venal, shoddy journalist, is supposed to personify man’s frailty and paltrinessnwhich, in the clutches of the modern, totalitarian, communist power machine,nhave become even more repulsive, helpless and vicious. Yet the writers who drewnthis personage lack Graham Greene’s sense for fine-tuning the transformation ofnhuman weakness into moral dignity. The two protagonists—the young worker andnhis wife, who comes from the intelli- ,m^m^^a^m^^^m^^m^^m^^^mi^^mmngentsia and joins him in his fight againstncommunism’s heinousness — arenstraight from the socialist-realist theorynof creative arts and letters that originatednwith Zhdanov (on Stalin’snorders).nSocialist realism, still the officialncultural orthodoxy in the Soviet Union,nCzechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany,netc., is a doctrine which assumesnthat man and life should be explorednand presented not according to the empiricallynverifiable truth, but accordingnto the requirements of ideology—nthe Marxist-Leninist ideology, to benprecise. Thus the prime concern of ansocialist-realist novel, drama, paintingnor movie is a so-called “positive hero”n—e.g. an alleged human being whosenpreponderant destiny in life is either tonfight for or to build socialism. He ornshe, naturally, may occasionally makenlove or care for a kitten, but any othernpreoccupations, like the search for wisdom,nmusing on freedom, pursuits ofnambition or succumbing to a nondescriptnsadness are rigidly prosecuted,neliminated, declared both antihumannand antistate. After almost 50 years ofnsocialist realism, except for a handfulnof novels and movies, the general modelncontinued on page 42nChronicles of Culturenby Adrian SperacinonAn American goes to see AndrzejnWajda’s Man of Iron to have his conceptionsnof good and evil confirmed;nafter all, this film features Solidarity’snstruggle against the communist overlordsnof Poland, with Soviet tanks lurkingnin the background. If one seeksnmoral edification, then surely Wajdansupplies it.nBut perverseness will have its waynat times; as Wajda plays out his dramanone begins to feel a nagging uneasiness.nCan the contrast between the two antagonistsnreally be this stark? Brawnynworkers with pure hearts and selflessnmotives confront policemen whosenthuggishness recalls the characters innthird-rate gangster movies. Idealisticnintellectuals fight to escape the heavynhand of a repressive government. Somehownthis sounds familiar. Then the flashnof recognition: Wajda springs straightnfrom the prolecult socialist realism ofnthe 1930’s. Mike Gold and the fellowntravelers of the Federal Theater Projectnwould have loved him. Does Wajda expectnus to embrace an aesthetic thatnnnfinds sublimity in the artistic possibilitiesninherent in the theme of boy meetsntractor?nWith considerable smugness, then,none pigeonholes Man of Iron; Wajdanhas simply reached into his bag, pullednout a handful of cliches and mixed themntogether according to a recipe in thencookbookof socialist aesthetics. But whonis guilty now of oversimplification?nThinking only of those American leftistsnwho assail our own government,nwe forget that Man of Iron depictsnpeople who risk their lives to oppose anbrutal communist regime. Wajda portraysnintellectuals who battle for basicnhuman freedoms, not their spoiled counterpartsnwho gather at writers’ congressesnto denounce the world’s freestnnation. The Polish workers who appearnin the film bear no resemblance to thengreedy malcontents of PATCO. In thisncase, socialist realism actually works.nWajda and Solidarity need to draw thenline clearly between good and evil andnto heighten the contrast between thentwo. In present-day Poland such a divisionnbetween good guys and bad guysnclearly coincides with reality.nHaving conquered the urge to dismissnMan of Iron as nothing more thannan exercise in prolecult, one faces anothernproblem. The people in this filmnsound suspiciously like socialists, andntheir talk about democracy verges dangerouslynclose to the egalitarianismnpreached by the most extreme of Americannleftists. What are individualisticnAmericans to do with this? They cannbegin by realizing that our neat littlendivision between capitalism and socialismnfalls apart when we try to imposenit on the situation in Poland. Perhapsnwe can console ourselves by insistingnthat Solidarity’s leaders bandy the catchwordsnof socialism simply to buy timenfrom the Soviets. This contains an elementnof truth, but on a deeper level thenleaders of the Polish rebellion know thatnimprovements in Poland must comen