October 18 and 19 marked the funeral and wake for Andrzej Wajda. His remains were laid to rest at the Salvatore Cemetery in Krakow.

The funeral mass in Warsaw’s Dominican church was officiated by bishop of Warsaw Rafał Markowski, who said “today’s mass serves as thanks for the life and personality of Andrzej Wajda, as well as for his exceptional talent.” The homily was read by theologist and film academic Father Andrzej Luter.

Words of farewell from friends

The mass was followed by friends bidding their final farewell to Andrzej Wajda. Jacek Bromski was first to speak.

“We must be aware that this marks the end of an era in the history of cinema. After Visconti, Fellini, Kurosawa, Bergman […], today marks the departure of the last of a generation of artists who turned cinema into a great art. […] He made so many masterpieces that they could easily fill the oeuvre of several directors, and each would be considered exceptional. He was always with us, at the heart of events. […] I know that without him we would never have been able to win the struggle for copyrights for filmmakers, or the Act on Cinematography. He was always eager to help whenever we needed his support. But he was also always present in our social life — he would watch our films, our theatre premieres, often commenting on them. He dedicated a lot of time to teaching young filmmakers. He was a great promoter of unity and solidarity among the film industry. […] It is a feeling of great loss; we believed he would be with us forever. Without him, the Polish film industry will never be the same. Someone said that we are like sailors at sea who have lost their compass. Farewell, dear Andrzej.”

“We have lost not only a great man and a great friend. We have lost a whole universe. Our moral and critical backbone. You were our measure, you were our sense. […] It was through your eyes that we saw truth and deception, beauty and ugliness. It was against your sensibility that we measured ourselves, Poland, and the world. […] But you have not departed, and you will never depart; your life’s work is a miracle that only happens to nations thanks to their most exceptional sons and daughters. […] You will remain with this nation and this country forever, and it is our obligation to be grateful and aware of what you have given us,” said Krystyna Janda.

In Krakow, the funeral mass was held at the Holy Trinity church, officiated by bishop Grzegorz Ryś. The homily was read by Father Jan Andrzej Kłoczowski.

Words of farewell from friends

Farewell letters from Lech Wałęsa, Roman Polański and Agnieszka Holland were read before the funeral mass commenced.

Andrzej Seweryn read Roman Polański’s letter:

“Dear Andrzej,
our friendship lasted over 60 years. It began when you offered me a job on your feature debut A Generation at a very difficult time in my life. It was then that I learned to see your exceptional talent and equally exceptional qualities, your youthful energy and audacity, which you never lost. You showed us the meaning of teamwork, you taught us how important it is to listen to others. Your love of the truth and authenticity, your attention to details impressed me greatly, and I think I tried to emulate it later in my own work. You infected me with your pursuit of perfection […].”

Agnieszka Holland also wrote a few words of farewell for her departed friend, which were read by Wojciech Pszoniak.

“I can’t be there today to bid you farewell with Krystyna and our friends. I’m away doing what you always loved doing most throughout your adult life. I am sitting in my director’s chair, staring at a monitor and making funny faces when I like a take and the actors give a great performance. […] Your films are great works of art. I believe that this art will stay with us, our children and our grandchildren, who will discover them anew. […] You were our Master and our Friend — bold, free of pathos, free of an inferiority complex. Today’s grand words: truth, freedom, justice, meant a lot to you. You were very demanding towards yourself and towards those you loved: Poland and Europe. You were not a fan of funerals yourself, which is why I believe that you are elsewhere today. Perhaps there is an interesting exhibition on somewhere in Krakow, where I might run into you? Yours, Agnieszka.”