Polish filmmaker Aleksander Ford played a key role in establishing his country's international reputation for excellent cinema. One of Ford's protégés was perhaps the world's best-respected Polish director, Andrzej Wajda.
After a year of making short silent films, Ford made his first feature-length film, Mascotte/Mascot, in 1930. He did not use sound until his sophomore effort, Legion Ulicy/The Legion of the Street (1932). When World War II erupted, Ford went to the Soviet Union to work closely with Jerzy Bossak and establish the film unit for the Polish military. After the war, Ford headed the government-controlled Film Polski. An opponent of the communist takeover of Poland, Ford attempted to use his films to voice his discontent and expose the effects of the new regime upon Jews and the poor, as in his documentaries Droga Mlodych/Street of the Young (1936) and the award-winning Osmy Dzien Tygodnia/Eighth Day of the Week (1959). Both films were banned in Poland. Ford continued making films in Poland until a resurgence of anti-Semitism during the 1960s led him to spend two years in Israel. Ford later lived in Denmark and eventually settled in the U.S.A.