Piotr Trzaskalski is a film and television director who creates programmes about art, music videos, and documentary films. He was born in 1964 in Łódź.
He graduated from the Faculty of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Łódź and from the Film and Television Directing at the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. He received a scholarship from the Northern School of Film and Television of Leeds Metropolitan University in Great Britain. Since 1992, he has been working independently, mainly for television: he has authored and co-authored programmes about art, music videos, and documentaries (such as Roman Kramsztyk – powrót / Roman Kramsztyk – The Return, Katalog / The Catalogue, Candid Camera zapis cenzurowany / Candid Camera Censored Record, Inny teatr / Another Theatre, Malowanki Franka Firanki / Franek Firanka’s Colourings).
He created eight Television Theatre shows, including plays for children: Walizka / The Suitcase (1998) and Dalej niż na wakacje / Further than on Vacation (2000), based on Anna Onichimowska’s books, as well as The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes by an unknown author (1999) and Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (2009).
His debut full-length film was Edi, a fully independent production, which brought him numerous awards (e.g. Polityka’s Passport, Special Jury Prize and Critics’ Award at the Gdynia Film Festival, as well as Grand Prix at the Warsaw Film Festival), and also filled movie theatres in Poland. The dramatic, but at the same time tender and fairy-tale like story about two scrapyard workers, Edi (played by the old star of children’s cinema, Henryk Gołębiewski) and Jureczek (Jacek Braciak), won over even the most cynical reviewers:
This fairy-tale like film moved the spectators and critics alike, even those who don’t tend to cry, or do so only for a spiteful satisfaction that somebody failed again.
– wrote Michał Burszta on Filmweb.
The win goes to a beautiful, touching, and very simple film about values that we should hold on to and about a man who remains faithful to those values in spite of his tough life situation.
In 2005, Trzaskalski returned to feature films with the picture The Master, a journey across small towns in the company of a Russian circus master (Konstantin Lavronenko), which was, however, received less enthusiastically than his début. In 2012, Trzaskalski directed My Father’s Bike, a low-key comedy-drama about three generations of contemporary men, starring Michał Urbaniak, Artur Żmijewski, and Krzysztof Chodorowski in the main roles. The screenplay for this film, which he co-wrote with Wojciech Lepianka, was awarded at the Gdynia Film Festival.
Trzaskalski has been a member of the European Film Academy since 2004. He says:
There are two kinds of cinema: one which searches for spirit and one which has honed the art of blather.
When describing his creative work, he adds:
When writing, making films, painting, people are able to enter a state when they absent themselves […] My [cinema] keeps you sleepless. Sometimes it is worth being underslept.
Gazeta Wyborcza, 20.11.2012
Ed. NMR, May 2016, transl. AM, July 2016