A cinematographer born in 1943 in Warsaw, died on January 5th, 2008 in Milanówek near Warsaw.
A cinematographer, his first job in the film industry was that of a stills photographer and assistant cameraman.
After graduating from secondary art school in Wroclaw, in 1962 Edward Kłosiński enrolled at the cinematography department of the National Film and Theatre School (today's PWSFTviT) in Łódź. After graduating in 1967, at the Film Etude Festival organized by the Zygzakiem Film Discussion Club, he received the joint first prize for best cinematography with Sławomir Idziak. From 1968 he worked for a year at his home school as an assistant to Kurt Weber. He did not get to work as a cameraman straight away, a characteristic feature of those times. His first job in the film industry was that of a stills photographer and assistant cameraman. He went on to work as a cameraman for educational films, and a cameraman and assistant cinematographer for short films. He worked with the film studios "Czołówka" and Se-Ma-For. Edward Kłosiński's big professional break came with Andrzej Wajda's The Birch Wood from 1970, where he was a cameraman at first, but after Zygmunt Samosiuk left the project he completed the film as its cinematographer. In subsequent years he was the cinematographer of several feature films. His full-length debut was Janusz Zaorski's Run Away Nearly from 1971. In later years he worked with Janusz Zaorski several more times, and also with Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda.
Since the late 1970's Edward Kłosiński has divided his time between Poland and Western Europe, where he has worked on many cinema projects and television productions. He often collaborates with his wife, actress Krystyna Janda who has recently taken on the role of director more and more often.
Edward Kłosiński's awards include a prize for the cinematography for Krzysztof Zanussi's Barwy ochronne / Camouflage at the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdańsk in 1977. In 2001 his cinematography for the same director's film Życie jako śmiertelna choroba przenoszona drogą płciową / Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease won him a nomination for an "Eagle", the Polish Film Award.
With his art history knowledge and painting skills acquired at art school, Edward Kłosiński has the kind of background that could direct his attention as a cinematographer mainly to the visual aspect of a film. This is true to a certain degree, though the painter's viewpoint is not a dominating feature of his films.
"I spent long hours studying how Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Turner or Hoppner built their paintings. The world can be described in many ways, but the question is: why do certain ways of representing the world become more strongly embedded in the memory than others? I realized that I liked natural light the most, only not entirely natural but slightly deformed. All within the boundaries of realism, but not an illusion of reality. That is how Sven Nykvist, Gordon Willis and a few others work. There is an element of creation involved, because the sun never shines that low, the contrasts are well balanced, the shot is narrowed, etc., but if the main light source in a scene is a window, then this fact has to be respected. It is the same with painting, even in the pictures of Salvador Dali". (interview granted to Bożena Janicka, "Kwartalnik Filmowy", 7-8 1994)
Edward Kłosiński does not seek eccentric shots, his cinematography tends to display a certain moderation and naturalness.
"The cinematography cannot be a 'wall' separating the film from the viewer", he said in an early interview. "If the cinematography is so aggressive that the cinema viewer starts sighing 'how lovely', then they lose the essence of the film. I try not to 'stick out' from behind the camera, and not to overdo special shots - from under the table, then from a bird's-eye view". (interview granted to Marcin Giżycki, "Kino" 12/1978)
In an interview twenty years later he said:
"Making a film, I never think only about its visual impact, but I identify with it - I would say - completely". ("Kino" 4/1998)
This means that the important thing for Edward Kłosiński is a film's intellectual layer, and his way of thinking is close to that of the director, though unlike many of his fellow cinematographers, apart from one instance of co-directing a series with Andrzej Wajda, this artist has not tried his hand at the director's profession. As he declares, though, he is a cameraman who likes to join in the work on a film wherever possible, at the earliest possible stage. He thinks this is the most convenient situation for a cinematographer. Because, as he said in an interview granted to Bożena Janicka,
"it gives you an influence over the film's dramatic structure, for example you can propose that scenes which convey information verbally be replaced with ones that suggest it using images only".
"The most active period of my work", Edward Kłosiński said in the same interview, "fell on the years of the birth and peak development of the cinema of moral anxiety. Today I can't really say if that was lucky or unlucky. I like that cinema, I know it was needed and important, but in terms of form it is hard to view it as rich. It probably had to be that way. If the formal aspects had been more spectacular, they would have falsified the content which was the most important thing".
Kłosiński was the cinematographer for several major films of this trend, and looking at his camera work, one can say that the formal aspect of the films within this journalistic trend in Polish cinema was not entirely ignored after all.
An example: Krzysztof Zanussi's Camouflage was shot almost entirely "from the hand", which was something of an innovation at the time, and was linked to a specific formal effect that was subordinated to the main idea for the film - that it should feature a natural element.
The most important element in Feliks Falk's Wodzirej / Top Dog, as Kłosiński told Bożena Janicka, was the personality of the main character played by Jerzy Stuhr.
"Stuhr in 'Top Dog' has a little motor that drives him on throughout the film", said Kłosiński. "His rapid little steps create a special rhythm that is accompanied by another kind of rhythm, formed by the alternation of brighter and darker scenes".
In Andrzej Wajda's Bez znieczulenia / Rough Treatment on the other hand, the shots are intentionally "rough" because, as the cinematographer himself said,
"this was a story about difficult moments in the life of a journalist, so I did my best to make it look like a reporter's work, to make it restless, careless". (interview granted to Andrzej Wojnach, "Film" 49/1979)
This film was shot "from the hand", just like Spirala / Spiral and Camouflage, to create an illusion of authenticity, and for the liveliness of the camera to balance out the large amount of dialogue, said Kłosiński in the above interview.
Wajda's films that were less journalistic than the "cinema of moral anxiety" gave the cameraman greater scope for creativity. In Panny z Wilka / The Maids from Wilko, explained the cinematographer in the same interview, "the images had to be calm, expressing the mood of a hot summer". It was the same in Kronika wypadków miłosnych / A Chronicle of Amorous Incidents, where Edward Kłosiński searched for "the visual key in old photographs" (interview granted to Marcin Sułkowski "Kino" 4/1998), wanting to show a world that no longer exists, idealized by memory. In this film, the cinematographer treated the contrast between light and shadow in a unique way.
"A film school student would probably have gotten bottom marks for the wrong balance between interior and outdoor locations", Kłosiński said, "but I intentionally went against the rules and, working inside, I lightened the outdoors to the limits of legibility. This is not my discovery though, it's done from time to time all over the world. In addition, using certain filters makes bright points even brighter and, for example, a white dress against the landscape becomes almost misty, it almost stops being physical, concrete. In both cases my aim was for the image not to be defined technically in an obvious way, but to contain something elusive, something that makes us guess the physical rather than actually see it".
Człowiek z marmuru / Man of Marble, also directed by Andrzej Wajda, was a completely different challenge for the cameraman. Some of the takes were purposely shot in a socialist-realist style, observed in documentaries from that period, glorifying giant construction projects like pipelines or the Nowa Huta metallurgical complex. Other takes are maintained in a different style, typical of the success propaganda of the 1970's, thanks to which Warsaw for instance looks "as if it were a city with a European polish". It is the contrast of the two styles that gives the film its ironic aspect, as intended by the director.
Kłosiński gained some interesting professional experience working with the renowned documentary director Wojciech Wiszniewski on his one and only feature film, Historia pewnej miłości [The Story of a Love], which was shelved by the censors for almost ten years precisely for "extracting the ironic aspect".
"I'm glad I was able to make that film with him", Kłosiński told Marcin Sułkowski. "Wojtek had a wonderful 'crooked eye' that pinpointed all the absurdity of our 'little stabilization'. This film had all the elements of small realism, but used in such a way that overall it resulted in a supra-value which compromised both that model of living and the fact that we had all accepted it".
In the late 1970's and early 1980's Edward Kłosiński began dividing his time between Poland and abroad, mainly West Germany and Austria, often working as a cameraman for television productions.
He was the cinematographer for many films by Peter Keglević, including the quite popular musical comedy with elements of fantasy, Magic Sticks from 1987, and Axel Corti, including the well-known mini-series Eine Blassblaue Frauenschrift. He was also a cameraman for Lars von Trier's Europa.
- 1965 - Przygoda [The Adventure], dir. Rashko Uzunov
- 1965 - Zdarzenie [The Event], dir. Marek Piestrak
- 1966 - Dzień zwycięstwa [Victory Day], dir. Marek Piestrak
- 1966 - Niebo [Heaven], dir. Juan Manuel Torres
- 1966 - Wygrana, przegrana [Victory, Defeat], dir. Rashko Uzunov, cinematography with Sławomir Idziak
- 1968 - Czy państwo gracie [Are You Playing], dir. Juan Manuel Torres
Documentaries and short films:
- 1969 - Jacek Mierzejewski dir. Jerzy Mierzejewski (cinematography with Mieczysław Lewandowski)
- 1970 - Spojrzenie [The Look], dir. Sławomir Idziak
- 1970 - Na Dobranoc [Good Night], dir. Janusz Zaorski
- 1971 - Dekameron 40 Czyli cudowne przytrafienie pewnego nieboszczyka [The Decameron 40, or the Miraculous Adventure of a Dead Man], dir. Jan Budkiewicz
- 1971 - Mateo Falcone, dir. Jan Budkiewicz
- 1971 - Meta / The Pad, dir. Antoni Krauze (premiere 1980)
- 1972 - Hipoteza [Hypothesis], dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 1973 - Sobie Król [King], dir. Janusz Leski
- 1973 - Śledztwo [The Investigation], dir. Marek Piestrak
- 1973 - Żółw [The Turtle], dir. Andrzej Kotkowski
- 1977 - Umarła klasa / Dead Class, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1979 - Pogoda domu niechaj będzie z tobą... [May the Serenity of Home Be with You…], dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 2004 - Jaki jest z bliska [A Close-up], dir. Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalczyk
- 1972 - Uciec jak najbliżej / Run Away Nearly, dir. Janusz Zaorski
- 1972 - Illumination, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 1974 - Historia pewnej miłości [The Story of a Love], dir. Wojciech Wiszniewski (1-hour feature film - premiere 1980)
- 1974 - Sędziowie. Tragedya [The Judges. A Tragedy], dir. Konrad Swinarski (1-hour film)
- 1974 - Ziemia obiecana / The Promised Land, dir. Andrzej Wajda (cinematography with Witold Sobociński, Waclaw Dybowski)
- 1975 - The Promised Land, TV series, dir. Andrzej Wajda (cinematography with Witold Sobociński and Wacław Dybowski)
- 1975 - Strach / Fear, dir. Antoni Krauze (1-hour film)
- 1976 - Polskie drogi [Polish Roads], dir. Janusz Morgenstern, TV series, cinematographer for episodes 1-6 (cinematographer for episodes 7-11 - Witold Adamek) (awards: 1978 - Award of the Chairman for Radio and Television, first class)
- 1976 - Barwy ochronne / Camouflage, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi (awards: 1977 - Gdańsk, Polish Feature Film Festival, prize for cinematography)
- 1976 - Człowiek z marmuru / Man of Marble, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1977 - Pokój z widokiem na morze / A Room with a View on the Sea, dir. Janusz Zaorski
- 1977 - Wodzirej / Top Dog, dir. Feliks Falk
- 1977 - Spirala / Spiral, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi (awards: 1979 - Panama, International Film Festival, prize for cinematography)
- 1978 - Bez znieczulenia / Rough Treatment, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1978 - Zaległy urlop [Overdue Leave], dir. Janusz Zaorski (1-hour film, cinematography with Janusz Kaliciński)
- 1979 - Panny z Wilka / The Maids from Wilko, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1979 - Szansa / Chance, dir. Feliks Falk (also co-author of the dialogues)
- 1980 - Die Jahre Vergehen, dir. Peter Keglevic, TV film
- 1980 - Z biegiem lat, z biegiem dni... [Over the Course of Time…], dir. Andrzej Wajda, Edward Kłosiński (cinematography with Witold Adamek)
- 1981 - Dziecinne pytania / Childish Questions, dir. Janusz Zaorski
- 1981 - Człowiek z żelaza / Man of Iron, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1982 - Matka Królów / The Mother of Kings, dir. Janusz Zaorski (cinematography with Witold Adamek)
- 1982 - Bella Donna, dir. Peter Keglević
- 1983 - Die Grünstein-Variante, dir. Bernhard Wicki
- 1984 - Eine Blassblaue Frauenschrift, dir. Axel Corti
- 1984 - Der Bulle und das Mädchen, dir. Peter Keglević
- 1985 - Pattbergs Erbe, dir. Marianne Lüdcke
- 1985 - Sansibar oder der letzte Grund, dir. Bernhard Wicki
- 1985 - Ga-ga. Chwała bohaterom / Ga-ga. Glory To the Heroes, dir. Piotr Szulkin
- 1985 - Kronika wypadków miłosnych / A Chronicle of Amorous Incidents, dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 1986 - Magic Sticks, dir. Peter Keglević
- 1987 - Dekalog / Decalogue, dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, a cycle of TV films, cinematography for Decalogue Two
- 1988 - And the Violins Stopped Playing, dir. Alexander Ramati
- 1989 - Herzlich Willkommen, dir. Hark Bohm
- 1989 - Modrzejewska, dir. Jan Łomnicki, TV series
- 1989 - Der Skipper, dir. Peter Keglević
- 1990 - Życie za życie / Life for Life. Maximilian Kolbe, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 1991 - Europa, dir. Lars von Trier (cinematography with Henning Bendtsen, Jean-Paul Meurisse)
- 1991 - Kuchnia Polska / Polish Cuisine, dir. Jacek Bromski (cinematography with Janusz Gauer)
- 1991 - Polish Cuisine, dir. Jacek Bromski, TV series, episodes 1-2 (cinematography with Janusz Gauer)
- 1991 - Der grosse Bellheim, dir. Dieter Wedel, TV series
- 1992 - Trzy kolory: Biały / Trois couleurs: Blanc / Three Colours: White, dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski (also script consultation)
- 1994 - Der Schattenmann, dir. Dieter Wedel, TV series
- 1995 - Pestka / The Pip, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 1996 - Opowieści weekendowe / Weekend Stories, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi, cycle of TV films, cinematographer for: Damski interes / Woman's Business, Słaba wiara / Little Faith, Urok wszeteczny / Deceptive Charm, Skarby ukryte / The Hidden Treasure
- 1997 - Un air si pur..., dir. Yves Angelo
- 1997 - Der König von St. Pauli, dir. Dieter Wedel, TV series (cinematography with Franz Rath, Gerard Vandenberg)
- 1998 - Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod, dir. Rolf Schübel (awards: 1999 - Bavarian Film Award for best cinematography)
- 1998 - Liebe mich Bis in den Tod, dir. Michael Keusch
- 1999 - Tydzień z życia mężczyzny / A Week in the Life of a Man, dir. Jerzy Stuhr
- 1999 - Abschied - Brechts letzter Sommer, dir. Jan Schütte
- 2000 - Życie jako śmiertelna choroba przenoszona drogą płciową / Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi (awards: 2001 - Eagle, Polish Film Award, nomination for best cinematography, for 2000)
- 2000 - Chopin. Pragnienie miłości / Chopin: Desire for Love, dir. Jerzy Antczak (awards: 2003 - Houston, WorldFest Independent Film Festival, Golden Award for best cinematography)
- 2001 - Suplement / The Supplement, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 2002 - Gebürtig, dir. Robert Schindel, Lukas Stepanik
- 2002 - Pogoda na jutro / Tomorrow's Weather, dir. Jerzy Stuhr (awards: 2004 - Bitola, "Manaki Brothers" International Cinematographers Film Festival, audience award)
- 2002 - Superprodukcja [Super-Production], dir. Juliusz Machulski
- 2002 - Supertex, dir. Jan Schütte
- 2003-2004 - Męskie - Żeńskie [Male - Female] TV series, dir. Krystyna Janda, cinematographer for the episodes Buty [Shoes], Aktorka [The Actress], Danie świąteczne [Festive Meal] (other episodes: Witold Sobociński)
- 2004 - Vinci, dir. Juliusz Machulski
- 2005 - Fale [Waves], dir. Maciej Dejczer (three-part cycle, unfinished) part entitled Wyjazd [Departure]
- 2005 - Solidarność, Solidarność [Solidarity, Solidarity], film based on an idea of Andrzej Wajda composed of 13 shorts by different directors, cinematographer for Sushi, dir. Juliusz Machulski, Czołgi [Tanks], dir. Krzysztof Zanussi, Krótka historia jednej tablicy [Short Story of One Blackboard] [aka "A Short Story of a Board"], dir. Feliks Falk, Człowiek z nadziei [Man of Hope], dir. Andrzej Wajda
- 2005 - Persona non grata, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 2006 - Wszyscy jestesmy Chrystusami / We're All Christs, dir. Marek Koterski
- 2006 - Old Love, dir. Jan Schütte - in production
Television Theatre productions:
- 1977 - The Last Days by Mikhail Bulgakov, dir. Maciej Wojtyszko
- 1977 - Sędziowie / The Judges by Stanisław Wyspiański, dir. Konrad Swinarski
- 1978 - Noc listopadowa / November Night by Stanisław Wyspiański, dir. Andrzej Wajda in association with Edward Kłosiński
- 1994 - Na szkle malowane / Painted on Glass by Ernest Bryll, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 1995 - Amphitryon by Heinrich von Kleist, dir. Michał Kwieciński
- 1996 - Tristan and Isolde by Ernest Bryll, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 1998 - The Physiology of Marriage by Honoré de Balzac, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 1999 - The Lark by Jean Anouilh, dir. Krzysztof Zanussi
- 1999 - Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn, dir. Juliusz Machulski
- 2000 - The Open Couple by Dario Fo and Franca Rame, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 2001 - Jealousy by Esther Vilar, dir. Krystyna Janda (awards: 2002 - Sopot, "Two Theatres" National Festival of Polish Radio Theatre and Television Theatre - prize for cinematography)
- 2002 - Porozmawiajmy o życiu i śmierci [Let's Talk About Life and Death] by Krzysztof Bizio, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 2003 - Śluby panieńskie czyli magnetyzm serca / Maidens' Vows by Aleksander Fredro, dir. Krystyna Janda
- 2003 - 19. Południk [19th Meridian] Juliusz Machulski, dir. Juliusz Machulski
Moreover, assistant cinematographer or cameraman:
- 1964 - Propozycja [The Proposal], dir. Jerzy Wojciech Wójcik, cinematography Jan Hesse
- 1967 - Nocna wizyta [Night Visit], dir. Jerzy Wojciech Wójcik, cinematography Ryszard Kuziemski
- 1967 - Wagary [Playing Truant], dir. Jacek Butrymowicz, cinematography Sławomir Idziak
- 1969 - Sasiedzi / The Neighbours dir. Aleksander Scibor-Rylski, cinematography Kurt Weber
- 1970 - Brzezina / The Birch Wood, dir. Andrzej Wajda, cinematography Zygmunt Samosiuk
- 1970 - Dzień listopadowy [November Day], dir. Edward Żebrowski, cinematography Zygmunt Samosiuk
- 1970 - Lokis. Rekopis profesora Wittembacha / The bear, dir. Janusz Majewski, cinematography Stefan Matyjaszkiewicz
- 1971 - Jeszcze słychac śpiew i rżenie koni... [You Can Still Hear the Singing and the Horses Neighing…], dir. Mieczysław Waskowski, cinematography Sławomir Idziak
- 1972 - Zabijcie czarną owce / Kill the Black Sheep, dir. Jerzy Passendorfer, cinematography Stefan Pindelski
Author: Ewa Nawój, August 2006; updated: January 2008.