Director Says 'Katyn' Not Aimed at Russia

BERLIN -- Veteran Polish director Andrzej Wajda hopes his Oscar-nominated depiction of the 1940 massacre of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviet secret police won't get tangled up in politics -- but suggests it could help with reconciliation.

Wajda, 81, presented "Katyn" on Friday at the Berlin film festival, where the movie -- one of this year's Oscar nominees for best foreign-language film -- is showing out of competition. He recalled that the killings, for which Moscow took responsibility only in 1990, were a taboo issue under communist rule. Only after communism collapsed "were we able to even think of making a film like this," Wajda said through an interpreter at a news conference. "I'm so pleased that I have actually managed to make this film."

Wajda also stressed that the film is not aimed against Russia, with which his country has tense relations.

"This is a film of mourning, showing the events that occurred -- it's not a political film," he said. "I think ... the issue is too painful, it is too tragic to allow it to be manipulated from a political viewpoint, either in Poland or anywhere else. It's simply not appropriate."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended Friday's screening and posed with Wajda on the red carpet.