Film and theatre director and scriptwriter. Born on June 17, 1939 in Warsaw.
Film and theatre director and scriptwriter.
Zanussi's work was noticed during his activities in the amateur film movement in the 1950s and '60s. Nine of his eleven films received awards, including Tramwaj do Nieba (Tram to heaven), co-directed with Wincent Ronisz, awarded the Grand Prix at the Festival of Student Amateur shorts in 1958. He was also awarded for his graduation film Śmierć Prowincjała (The Death of a Provincial).
Polański, Zanussi, Kieślowski - First Films - Watch Online
He graduated in physics from the University of Warsaw in 1959, and from the department of philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in 1962. He then graduated directing studies at the Public Academy of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1966.
An auteur aesthetic
Zanussi's films cannot be considered along any clearly defined track or trend in Polish or international filmmaking. As a director, he is not subject to others' tastes or styles. He has said:
My films are derived primarily from literature, and are a kind of human speech. The idea of visual cinema has always raised my doubts.
The important period of art in Zanussi's life probably took place in the 1970s, when films including Życie Rodzinne (Family Life), Za Scianą (Behind the Wall), Iluminacja (Illumination), Barwy Ochronne (Camouflage) and Spirala (Spiral) were produced. A specific character was created in this period, one that became the quintessential hero of Zanussi's films: a man faced with a choice between values and the temptation of their rejection. The hallmark characteristic is moral sensitivity expressed in the compromise between the sphere of dreams regarding individual freedom and a life practice restricting this freedom.
Zanussi's films are regarded as examples of "auteur cinema". He wrote the script to almost all his films. Especially in the 1970s, in such films as Struktura Kryształu (The Structure of Crystal), Za Ścianą or Illuminacja, he encouraged actors to improvise, using the technique of open dialogue. Zanussi thereby intended to:
characterise the heroes in a not-so-obvious way, leaving a margin for understatement, the primacy of the mood of the plot while building dramatic tension results from a collision of psychological or moral rational.
The most significant film of the 1980s was produced in Poland in 1984: Rok Spokojnego Słońca (Year of the Quiet Sun). Zanussi pursued artistic plans in this decade primarily in the West, however, and became a European auteur. As he puts it:
Filming for Zanussi’s Foreign Body Underway
An artist does not belong to anybody, his art must be owned by all.
In addition to dominant themes of freedom, slavery and moral choices, the meeting of human destiny with the absolute quite often appears, together with the theme of death. Andrzej Kijowski wrote:
The leading trend of thought in Zanussi's creations seems to be the awareness of the need to die. The director's films reveal a man moving from one position to another, and although disputes concern matters which are real [...] somewhere in the background, reminiscences of incomprehensible dimensions of over-existentialism can be felt in which the irrational need to complete life is a self-evident fulfilment.
In his works, Zanussi raises the perennial problem of love, death, happiness and conscience, looking at how they manifest themselves in the world today. Aleksander Jackiewicz wrote:
In all of Zanussi's films, you can particularly feel a strong presence of the author. Not only in arguments [...] and fiction but also, and perhaps above all, in the manipulation of scenes, visuals, which often stem not from the logic of the story, but the logical thinking of the author. I mean those moments where – between the lines, between the frames - we hear his voice, see the course of his thoughts, feeling his pulse of emotion.
Dichotomies are characteristic of Zanussi's cinema. Christian belief is in sharp contrast with the rationalism of the scientist.
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Teaching and titles
In addition to filmmaking, Zanussi is also active in teaching and directing theatre and opera. He has taught in film schools in Łódź, the National Film School in Britain and in Copenhagen. He directs in theatres in Milan, Palermo, Bonn, Kraków, Basel and Rome.
He served as vice president of Polish Filmmakers' Association from 1971 to 1983, and as chairman of the Polish Federation of Film Discussion Clubs from 1975 to 1977. He was the club federation's artistic director from 1980, and later became director of the Tor Film Studio and, from 1987, a member of the Cinematography Committee. He was elected President of the European Federation of Audiovisual Performers in 1990. Zanussi is also a consultant of the Pontifical Commission for Cultural Affairs at the Vatican and member of the European Film Academy. He has been a member of the Pontifical Academy of Arts and Letters since 1997. He has served as president of the Eurovision Association, member of the Polish PEN-Club and the Association of Writers, vice president of Polish Public Television (TVP) and professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice.
Zanussi has received the titles of doctor honoris causa at the Moscow Film Institute WGiK (1998), European University in Minsk (2001), National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest (2001), New Bulgarian University (2002), State University of Television and Film in St. Petersburg (2004), and Catholic University in Valencia (2004).
In 1998, on Piotrkowska Street in Łódź, Zanussi's star was unveiled on the Walk of Fame, and the director left his hand print on the Promenade of Stars in Międzyzdroje in 2000.
- 1967 - Twarzą w Twarz (Face to Face). A moving psychological study of the problem of human responsibility for the fate of others.
- 1968 - Zaliczenie. Studying the problem of human dignity.
- 1969 - Struktura Kryształu (The Structure of Crystal). The protagonists of the film are two talented physicists – one of them leaves the city for the countryside and becomes a meteorologist, the other establishes a brilliant career in science. Both are bombarded by moral dilemmas regarding their choice in life.
- 1970 - Góry o Zmierzchu (TV film). A story about an old professor, who travels to the mountains every year on the anniversary of the death of a friend.
- 1971 - Die Rolle. An actor, preparing for the role of an old man, after many years, visits his father in a nursing home to observe his behaviour.
- 1971 - Życie Rodzinne (Family Life). Wit, a young engineer, visits his family home together with a friend. The story of a family crisis and the inability to make a choice in line with moral and ethical principles.
Awards: 1971 - "Silver Hugo"at the Chicago International Film Festival, "Golden Duck " in the Best Film awarded by the Polish magazine "Film" 1972 - "Premio de San Gregorio"and the "Premio Ciudad de Valladolid"at the International Film Festival in Valladolid, 1973 - Second Prize at the IFF in Colombo.
- 1971 - Za Ścianą (Behind the Wall). An intimate drama regarding people's attitudes. The title here is a symbol of the wall borders that divide people and indifference to the fate of another human being. Award: 1971 - Grand Prix at the IAFF in San Remo.
- 1972 - Hipoteza. Taking place at the beginning of the twentieth century, the story of young professor who, in an original way, has managed to overcome his own weakness.
- 1973 - Iluminacja (Illumination). The main character is a young student who, through study, reflection and contact with others seeks the "truth". However, despite his efforts, he does not experience the illumination – available, according to medieval philosophy, to only some of the sages and philosophers.
Awards: 1973 - Grand Prix "Golden Leopard", FIPRESCI Prize, Ecumenical Jury Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, "Warsaw Mermaid" (Film Critic Club SDP) in the feature film category, the Grand Prix at KSF "The Young and film" in Koszalin; Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in Ravenna, 1974 - Special Jury Prize Film Festival in Gdańsk, "Golden Grape" at the LLF in Łagów, "Gold Medal " at the IFF in Figuera da Foz.
- 1974 - Bilans Kwartalny (A Woman's Decision). A melodrama with moralistic undertones. Bored with her marriage, Marta meets her former friend from college. Fascinated with him, she decides to leave her house and change her life. But common sense prevails and the heroine returns to her husband.
Awards: 1975 - OCIC Award at the IFF in West Berlin, 1976 - "Golden Camera" for best contemporary film.
- 1975 - Die Nachtdienst. A young doctor from Yugoslavia takes care of a rich baroness, who in carefully devised ways, attempts to destroy her dignity. An intimate drama about the search for self-esteem by humiliating others.
- 1976 - Barwy Ochronne (Camouflage). During a student research camp, a young assistant, Jarosław, meets an assistant professor named Jakub. Each represents a different attitude towards life: the first is an idealist, the other a cynic. The conflict of these attitudes, as well as a description of the academic environment, are the main themes of the film.
Awards: 1977 - Grand Prix at the Film Festival in Gdańsk, "Golden Capricorn" at the International Film Festival in Tehran.
- 1977 - Anatomie Stunde. A group of German students examine the impact of various factors on the psychological structure of man.
- 1977 - Haus der Frauen. The history of several related women of different ages who live together in one house.
- 1978 - Spirala (Spiral) About a terminally ill man who finds the only way to decide his fate is suicide.
Awards: 1978 - Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Prize for LLF Studio Cinemas in Łagów; Award at the Film Festival in Gdańsk, 1979 - Award for best director at the IFF in Panama, "Golden Camera" from the magazine "Film".
- 1979 - Wege in der Nacht. During World War II, a group of German officers is stationed in a country manor. One of the Germans is fascinated by the owner of the property, but the feeling remains unrequited.
- 1980 - Constans (The Constant Factor). About a young and honest man looking for a life of constant values. Unfortunately, the mendacious reality surrounding him and coincidental fault cause his ideas about the world to shatter.
Awards: 1980 - Special Jury Award at Film Festival in Gdańsk, Award for best director, and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, 1981 - Grand Prize at the IFF in Panama.
- 1980 - Kontrakt (The Contract). Two young people from wealthy and well-connected families get married. This leads to a scandal, because the bride says no. Despite this, the wedding takes place, which is a pretext to look critically at society of the late 1970s. Awards: 1980 - Catholic Office for Film Award at the Venice Film Festival.
- 1981 - Versuchung. The history of a missed marriage. A woman is an open human, full of optimism, while the man is emotionally cool and detached. The spouses are becoming increasingly alienated from each other.
- 1981 - Da un Paese lontano: Giovanni Paolo II. Screenplay: Andrzej Kijowski and Jan J. Szczepański in collaboration with Krzysztof Zanussi, prod. Italy - Great Britain - Poland). The story of Karol Wojtyla's life on the canvas of a complicated history of the Polish Republic. Awards: 1981 - The "David Europeo".
- 1982 - Imperative. Augustyn is a middle-aged man has achieved success in life, although he falls into a depression bordering on insanity. A drama showing the inner struggle of man with himself. Awards: 1982 - Special Jury Award at the Venice Film Festival.
- 1984 - Rok Spokojnego Słońca (The Year of the Quiet Sun). 1946. A difficult affair between two women, an American and a Pole, in the realities of the transitional period between war and peace. Awards: 1984 - "Gold Lion" and the Passitti Union of Italian Journalists Prize at the Venice Film Festival.
- 1985 - Paradigma. The plot takes place in the early twentieth century. A twenty-year-old theology student naively believes that man is inherently good and evil can be easily overcome. But it turns out that even his own conduct is ambiguous and tainted with compromise.
- 1988 - Wherever You Are. About a Uruguayan diplomat who arrives in Poland in 1945, in order to explain the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife, who was murdered by the Germans. A psychological drama revealing the secrets of the human subconscious.
- 1989 - Stan Posiadania (Inventory). An intimate drama of love between a mature women and student, who under the influence of a young lover, becomes converted and gets baptised. Awards: 1989 - Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, 1990 - Grand Prix at the International Film Festival in Strasbourg.
- 1990 - Życie za Życie. The story of Maximilian Kolbe. The film shows us a close figure and explains the motivation behind his actions.
- 1990 - Das lange Gespräch mit dem Vogel (Long Conversation with a Bird). About a forty-year-old actor fascinated by a young girl. The story of impossible love.
- 1991 - Napoléon et l'Europe. Zanussi directed the episode Maria Walewska, which tells the story of the emperor's love for the Polish noblewoman.
- 1991 - Lyuk. A melodrama.
- 1992 - Dotknięcie Ręki (The Silent Touch)i. A musicology student visits a famous composer in Denmark, who had long since composed. Under the influence of the young man, the old master composes an explicit oratory. The Faustian theme includes questions about the meaning of art and whether it is able to change the face of the world. Awards: 1993 - "Golden Film Reel" from the SFP for the best film in 1992.
- 1996 - Cwał (In Full Gallop). Set in the early 1950s. Ten-year-old Hubert arrives in Warsaw to live with his aunt. A political comedy of manners inspired by the directors autobiographical experiences from childhood.
Awards: 1996 - Special Jury Award and the Journalists Award at the Film Festival in Gdynia, Special Jury Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, 1997 - "Silver Witeź" at the International Film Festival of Slavic and Orthodox Nations in Moscow.
- 1996-2000 - Opowieści Weekendowe (Weekend Stories): Damski Interes (A Woman's Business), Niepisane Prawa (Unwritten Law), Dusza Śpiewa (The Soul Is Singing), Linia Opóźniająca (Delay Line), Ostatni Krąg (The Last Circle), Skarby Ukryte (Hidden Treasures), Słaba Wiara (Little Faith), Urok Wszeteczny (Deceptive Charm). The series talks about changes in the times of the democratic breakthrough. All videos are firmly in the realities of life and relate mainly to the intelligentsia and its moral choices.
- 1997 - Our God's Brother. The film is an adaptation of the drama written in the late 1940s by Karol Wojtyła about Adam Chmielowski - brother Albert (1845-1916).
- 2000 - Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease. A doctor finds out he is terminally ill with cancer. He wants to find the meaning in her natural, inevitable relationship with life. The film refers to the 1978 film Spiral.
Awards: 2000 - Main Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, Grand Prix "Golden Lions" and the Journalists Award at the Film Festival in Gdynia, 2001 - Special Jury Prize at the Festival in Tambov, "Eagle "- Polish Film Award in the categories of best director, best film , best screenplay, best director prize in the international competition at the Wine Country Film Festival in California, "Golden Duck " in the category of best Polish film of the year 2000 awarded by the magazine "Film", "Golden Film Reel" for the best Polish film in the year 2000 awarded by the Literature Circle SFP.
- 2002 -The Supplement. The fate of two young couples who were also present in the film Life as a Fatal Sexually .... The theme is the search for meaning in life - a reference to the earlier work Illuminacja. Awards: 2002 - FIPRESCI Award at the IFF in Moscow.
- 2005 - Persona non Grata. The protagonist is Wiktor, Polish ambassador to Uruguay. After the death of his beloved wife, he arrives at her funeral in the country, where he meets his old friend, a Russian deputy foreign minister, who was probably assigned to infiltrate the Polish underground in the 1980s. Wiktor suspects that his wife cheated on him once with this man.
Awards: 2005 - Jury Prize at the Film Festival in Gdynia, 2006 - Golden Film Reel Award in the category: Polish film (for 2005) granted by the Literature Circle SFP, 2007 - Beyond Borders Award in the name of Krzysztof Kieślowski in the feature film category at the Polish Film Festival in New York.
- 2005 - Czołgi in the film Solidarność, Solidarność. A para-documentary study, in which the director reaches back to the memories of the winter of 1981, while he filmed material in Krakow for a biographical film about John Paul II, From a Far Country.
- 2007 - Il Sole Nero. A thriller in the style of Dostoevsky; adaptation of the work of Rocco Familiari. The basis of the drama was a true story of crime, and the plot is summed up by the theme of the powers of evil.
- 2008 - And a Warm Heart. A rich Ukrainian businessman, Konstantin, has a serious heart illness. Only an immediate transplant can save him.
- 2009 - Rewizyta.The whole is a summary of the current artist's oeuvre. In the film, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz plays his last role.
- 2014 - Foreign Body, starring e.g. Riccardo Leonelli, Agata Buzek, Agnieszka Grochowska and Weronika Rosati. The script to Foreign Body was written by Krzysztof Zanussi.
- 1966 - Maria Dąbrowska
- 1966 - Przemysł
- 1967 - Komputery (Computers)
- 1968 - Krzysztof Penderecki.
- 1977 - Brigitte Horney
- 1979 - Mein Krakau
- 1982 - Capitali culturali - Vaticano
- 1987 - La mia Varsavia
- 1987 - Erloschene Zeiten.
- 1987 - Lied der toten Kinder
- 1990 - Witlod Lutosławski in Conversation with Krzysztof Zanussi
- 1993 - Spotkania Domowe
- 1996 - 'Do Not Be Afraid'. The Life and Teachings of Pope John Paul II
- 1964 - Ludzie milczą (directed by Edward Etler) – documentary film
- 1969 - Podróżni jak inni (dir. Wojciech Marczewski) – TV film
- 1976 - Próba ciśnienia (dir. Tadeusz Junak) – TV film
- 1979 - Obce głosy (dir. Hanna Kosińska-Hartowicz) – short film
- 1986 - Niedostępna (dir. Barbara Sałacka) - TV spectacle (two one-act plays written in collaboration with Edward Żebrowski)
- 1999 - Skowronek (author: Jean Anouilh)
- 2002 - Sesja castingowa (same author)
- 2008 - Głosy wewnętrzne (same author)
- 1979 - Lot nad kukułczym gniazdem (author: Dale Wasserman), (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) Teatr Stary (Old Theatre) in Kraków
- 1982 - Miłosierdzie płatne z góry (authors: Krzysztof Zanussi and Edward Żebrowski), Theatre Kleber-Meleau in Lausanne
- 1982 - Rzeźnia (author: Sławomir Mrożek) Centro Ricerche T. in Milan
- 1986 - Gry kobiece (authors; Krzysztof Zanussi and Edward Żebrowski), T. Petit Odeon in Paris
- 1986 - Juliusz Cezar (Julius Caesar) (author: William Shakespeare), Teatr Roma
- 1993 - Śmierć i dziewczyna (Death and the Maiden) (author: Ariel Dorfman), Teatr Nowy w Poznaniu (New Theatre in Poznań)
- 2002 - Straszni rodzice (author: Jean Cocteau), Eliseo Theatre in Rome
- 2009 - Romulus Wielki (author: Friedrich Dürrenmatt), Teatr Polonia (Polonia Theatre) in Warsaw
- Appeared in feature films:1979 - Amator(Camera Buff) (directed by: Krzysztof Kieślowski) as well as in films directed by himself including: 1987 - Erloschene Zeiten, 1996 - Cwał (In Full Gallop), 1996 - Dusza Śpiewa (The Soul is Singing) from the series Opowieści Weekendowe (Weekend Stories), 2000 - Life As a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, 2005 – short film Czołgi in the film Solidarność, Solidarność. He also appeared in the following documentaries: 1992 - Our Hollywood Education (directed by: Michael Beltrami), 1994 - Jan Strzelecki (directed by: Paweł Woldan), 1996 - Między Dźwiękiem a Ciszą. Wspomnienie o Witoldzie Lutosławskim (directed by: Aleksandra Osadowska-Padlewska), 1997 - Bareizm (directed by: Agnieszka Arnold), 2008 - Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky (produced by: Dmitry Trakovsky).
- He is the main subject of the 2004 documentary film Niepokój (written and directed by Krzysztof Tchórzewski). The film depicts the life and art of Krzysztof Zanussi.
Major awards and honours:
- 1971 - Award of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts for artistic grade III
- 1984 - State Prize for achievements in the field of Motion Picture and Television
- 1987 - Lumière Award awarded by the Italian Society of Theatre and Film Authors for lifetime achievement in the field of film
- 1991 - Chairman of the Cinematography Award for film producers
- 1998 - "Award of Latter Years of the Twentieth Century", awarded by the International Reading Group in San Miniato
- 1999 - Commander's Cross with the Star of the Order of Restitution of Poland for outstanding contribution to Polish culture
- 2001 - Award for lifetime achievement in the review by Febiofest in Prague
- 2002 - Award for lifetime achievement at the 29th Bonus Festival International E. Flaiano in Pesaro Italy; Award for lifetime achievement at the 19th International Film Festival in Jerusalem
- 2003 - Robert Bresson Award granted by the Minister of Culture of the Vatican, presented at the Venice Film Festival
- 2003 - Diploma for "outstanding contributions in the work of mutual understanding and rapprochement between Polish and Russian societies", awarded together by the foreign ministers of both countries
- 2003 - Aleksander Lifki Award for contribution to the development of European Cinema at the Film Festival in Subotica Palic (Serbia)
- 2003 - Award of the Association of Czech Film Clubs
- 2004 – Artistic Carskosielska Award in the Tsar Village near Saint Petersburg
- 2005 - Medal for the "Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis" awarded by the Ministry of Culture
- 2006 - Coral Slate Prize for lifetime achievement at the International Film Festival on the island of Ischia
- 2006 - Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence 2006 Prize at the Film Festival in Taormina
- 2006 - Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- 2007 - Luka Brajnovicia Award for lifetime artistic achievement at the University of Navarra in Pamplona
- 2007 - The Gold Fish for lifetime achievement at the 34th Ińsko Summer Film Event in Ińsko
- 2009 - Award for "outstanding contribution to cinema" at the International Festival in the name of Andrei Tarkovsky's Mirror in Ivanovo
- 2009 - Award of the Pen Master for lifetime screenwriting achievement at the 15th Anniversary of films in Warsaw
- 2014 - Award for Lifetime Achievements at 13th International FilmFestivalTransilvania.
Author: Halina Olczak-Moraczewska, May 2004, updated in September 2009. Translated by Roberto Galea, January 2011.