A film and theatre director, writer of film scripts, stage plays, television plays, and radio dramas; also a painter and graphic artist. Born in 1941 in Stanisławów.
A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1966) and the National Film, Television and Theatre School (PWSFTviT) in Łódź, from which he graduated in directing in 1974. He debuted as a theatre director in 1978 with August Strindberg's Dance of Death at the Teatr im. Jaracza in Łódź. His television debut was the short Nocleg / Overnight in 1973, and in 1977 he debuted on the silver screen with Wodzirej / Top Dog, a film whose title became a long-lasting symbol of people's mentality in that era. Falk was an active visual artist until the early 1980's, when he bid farewell to that profession, though recently he has not been unwilling to exhibit paintings created all those years ago. Among other jobs, he worked in the monthly "Magazyn Polski" as a layout editor. In later years, he was a lecturer at the Łódź film school. In 1991-2005, he was a film producer, co-owner of the Fokus Film studio.
Feliks Falk has won a number of major filmmaking awards. W środku lata / At the Height of Summer brought him a special mention at the San Remo International Film Festival in 1976. In 1986, Bohater roku" / "Hero of the Year won him the directing award at the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia, and at the same festival in 1993, another directing award, this time for Samowolka / A.W.O.L.. In 1987 Feliks Falk received an award for lifetime achievement in script writing at the Lubuski Film Festival in Łagów. His latest success is Komornik / The Collector, which has won him awards in 2006 that include the "Eagle" Polish Film Award for best director and the ecumenical jury's award at the IFF in Berlin.
Feliks Falk's name is inseparably linked to the term "cinema of moral anxiety", coined in the mid-1970's to designate films that undertook the difficult task, given the political situation at the time, of diagnosing the Polish reality. Cinema of moral anxiety was created by young filmmakers of the day, to mention Agnieszka Holland with her Aktorzy prowincjonalni / Provincial Actors, Feliks Falk and his Top Dog, and older filmmakers such as Krzysztof Zanussi, director of Barwy ochronne" / "Camouflage. These films, unwillingly tolerated by the authorities, were highly appreciated by the public.
Cinema of moral anxiety ... gave people not just encouragement, but also satisfaction that someone was trying to tell the truth on their behalf, says the director of Top Dog and its continuation, Hero of the Year, today.
(Interview for Przemysław Szubartowicz, Przegląd, 8 /2006)
The imposition of martial law in 1981 brought an end to this trend, and then the transformation of 1989 eliminated its natural reference point, namely the communist reality and the mentality of the people who lived in it, some of them losers and helpless in life, others seemingly winners, but morally stunted.
These productions, which became cult films for the social role they played, most often failed the artistic quality test when re-evaluated years later. The passage of time and political changes laid bare the short-term nature of this kind of journalistic cinema. The entire trend was criticized, for example in Maria Kornatowska's book "Wodzireje i amatorzy" (1990).
Feliks Falk's latest famous film The Collector has revived the seemingly long-finished discussion about cinema of moral anxiety. The critics were almost unanimous in seeing the protagonist, Lucek Bohme, as a new, capitalist incarnation of Lutek Danielak from Top Dog and Hero of the Year. "I have not made a 'Top Dog 3' ", the director insisted in an interview granted to Konrad Zarębski ("Kino" 10/2005), though at the same time he admitted that he took on the script by Grzegorz Łoszewski because the hero reminded him of the character from his most famous film. Another reason was that, as often happened with the cinema of moral anxiety, he noticed a disturbing social situation in the script.
In reality though, Feliks Falk emphasizes, this is no 'Top Dog', even the opposite. Lutek Danielak was an evil man fully intentionally, he did everything for the sake of his career, he fought for his position. Here - I think - I have managed to show something different. For the sake of what he associates with good and the law, the hero of 'The Collector' does evil. Compared to 'Top Dog', this is a rather perverse conclusion, just like the whole story in fact. 'Top Dog' was more one-dimensional.
Indeed, Top Dog, with excellent acting by Jerzy Stuhr, was the story of a man who mindlessly accepted the rules of the reality in which he lived, and in accordance with those rules, not shrinking from the worst vileness nor from any deed that was humiliating for him, climbed the rungs of the career ladder. Lucek Bohme from The Collector is a more complex character than his predecessor, not only because he undergoes a moral transformation, but also because he commits evil while rigorously following the law and - it would seem - moral principles. Bribes disgust him, contrary to most people from his community, who are in fact more like Danielak than he is. He turns into a man despised primarily by these people, and ultimately falls victim to their plotting aimed at neutralizing Lucek, pulling him down to their level.
Lucek is one of the most fascinating characters in Polish cinema in recent years, wrote one critic. Played with bravado by Andrzej Chyra, he combines the qualities of a demonic monster devoid of any remnants of human feeling and a hurt child getting his own back on his father for pain he suffered years ago.
(Bartosz Staszczyszyn Tygodnik Powszechny, 45/2005)
Though the protagonist of The Collector is undoubtedly a more interesting character than the hero of Top Dog, many people have said that The Collector is not an equally good film. All its merits notwithstanding, unlike Top Dog this is a stylistically uneven picture, very realistic in its portrayal of the gloomy reality, but at the same time surreal and metaphorical in parts, which can interfere with the reception of the whole.
With this picture, though, Feliks Falk has created an interesting frame for his earlier output, at the start of which was the success of Top Dog, and - interestingly - he has shown that the stance taken by filmmakers in the 1970's does not necessarily have to be completely outdated in the new era, despite widespread views to that effect.
Between the films about Lutek Danielak and Lucek Bohme, Feliks Falk made other films, a few of which attracted the attention of critics and audiences in their time. First and foremost, there is Był jazz / And All That Jazz, a nostalgic story, though not without its bitter political context, about a band in the 1950's; there is also The Idol and A.W.O.L..
For many years Feliks Falk's film career progressed rather unevenly, one could say, with good films as well as less interesting ones, and even periods of the director's absence from the film market, a time that he partly filled by directing stage productions in various cities in Poland as well as the Television Theatre. Nevertheless he is a director who displays a certain consistency in his interests. In his films one can find an unceasing fascination with situations - to put it briefly - in which the heroes are the victims or, just the opposite, the driving forces of manipulation. This is also true of the films by other directors for which Falk wrote the scripts, to mention Wielki bieg / The Big Race, or Baryton / The Baritone. At the same time, he refers to political life as well as everyday interpersonal relationships - in the professional field, one example being Szansa / Chance, and even in the emotional sphere. Examples of the latter include Koniec gry / Game is Over and Lato miłości / Summer of Love.
According to Feliks Falk it is impossible to recreate the situation of 1970s cinema, a time when important films in the moral concern genre were made. The director attempted to replicate the unique relation between the film creator and the audience in Komornik" / "The Collector. The director's view of that period is now more complex.
I was raised in the Polish Peoples' Republic and I am aware of its many sides, Falk said in an interview with Barbara Hollender. I do not have to defend that system because I already have expressed my opinions about it in my films. But I do not agree with all of the judgments. Simplifications, which appear often, annoy me just as much as the one-dimensional view of that period. The army of young historians and politicians who were not even alive back then and who know about the period only from indirect sources, blur the true image in the name of some contrived moral ideology and settling of accounts. The image of the interwar period was distorted in People's Poland, and now you do not show the many complexities of the time of the Polish People's Republic. I find this troubling. I would like to see a fuller image of that reality in films today.
Falk added in the interview that Enen / Case Unknown was such an attempt. He presented the film in the form of a thriller using mystery and tension, in order to attract young people.
Falk's last film up to date is Joanna (2010), a drama set in Kraków during the German occupation. It tells the story of a woman who hides a little Jewish girl in her home. Tadeusz Sobolewski wrote in his review:
This intimate, purposefully old fashioned film has a clear tone, so rare in modern Polish cinema. Good and evil are not hidden by masks put by the collective. Joanna was made as a reaction to the contemporary, when questions like morality and faith are put on flags of a nation or a party. Falk makes them personal. It is a Christian point of view. The good is lonely, the virtue is hidden under the veil of sin, the sacrifice remains unrecognised - these are all evangelical paradoxes. When we see Christmas lights in occupied Cracow from this perspective, the holiday from which Joanna is banned, become an empty ritual ("Gazeta Wyborcza", 27.11.2010).
as a director and script writer:
- script writer:
Television Theatre productions
playwright and director:
Feliks Falk has also directed plays at various theatres, including:
Teatr im. Jaracza in Łódź: August Strindberg's Taniec śmierci / Dance of Death (1978), Edward Redliński's Pustaki [Bricks] (1980), David Williamson's Przeprowadzka / The Removalists (1981), David Williamson's The Club (1983), Ireneusz Iredyński's Kreacja / Creation (1985), Anthony Burgess' Mechaniczna pomarańcza / The Clockwork Orange (1991),
Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw: Vaclav Havel's Audience, Wernisaż / Private View and Protest (1981 and 1989),
Teatr Wybrzeże in Gdańsk: Arthur Miller's Śmierć komiwojażera / Death of a Salesman (1992), Gregory Burke's Ulica Gagarina / Gagarin Way (2003),
Teatr Polski in Wrocław: Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz's Matka Joanna od Aniołów / Mother Joan of the Angels (1993),
Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw: David Mamet's Oleanna (1994),
Teatr Współczesny im. Wiercińskiego in Wrocław: Eugene Ionesco's Łysa śpiewaczka / The Bald Soprano (1994),
Teatr "Scena Prezentacje" in Warsaw: Woody Allen's Seks nocy letniej / A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (2002).
Author: Ewa Nawój, April 2006.
Updated November 2010.
Brak podobnych artystów.