Film director and screenwriter. Born on the 19th of January 1922 in Gwoździec (now Gvozdets in Ukraine), died on the 27th of December 2007 in Warsaw.
The moonscape of Mother Joan of the Angels, the austere convent architecture, the white walls obsessively enclosing the characters (...) create a vision of a world made up of a huge number of road signs which have to be deciphered. (...) 'Pharaoh' was made along similar lines. Its picturesque beauty, its fascinatingly spectacular character, also were not meant to be the objective but a starting point, an invitation to penetrate areas of the subject matter which stretched above, or among the reality.
Mother Joan of the Angels' was a reconstruction of the lost Middle Ages (though the plot is set in the 18th century, but in conditions mentally unchanged for centuries), 'Pharaoh' ... is a reconstruction of Egyptian antiquity. And then 'The Inn' - a re-creation of the destroyed world of Hasidic Jewish culture.
He received a Knight's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order in 1954 and 1959. He was awarded a special Golden Grape award in 1975 for achievement as an artist who particularly aptly and beautifully presented historical subjects, for the films Faraon / Pharaoh, Matka Joanna od Aniołów / Mother Joan of the Angels, and Celuloza / Cellulose. Also in 1975, he received an Order of the Banner of Labour first class on the 30th anniversary of the film industry in People's Poland. October 1998 saw the unveiling of Jerzy Kawalerowicz's star on the Avenue of Stars in Łódź, in Piotrkowska Street. During the Festival of Stars in Międzyzdroje, the director left his handprint on the Promenade of Stars (2001). He has received honorary doctorates: from the University of Paris III - New Sorbonne in 1998, and from the PWSFTviT in Łódź in 2000.
Other awards and distinctions:
In 1991 Yahia A. Zaidan wrote a paper on Kawalerowicz, entitled "Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Film Output" (typescript). A book about Kawalerowicz, Faraon Kina / The Pharaoh of Cinema by Małgorzata Dipont and Stanisław Zawiślański, was published in 1997.
Author: Halina Olczak-Moraczewska, May 2004; updated: December 2007.
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