Director, screenwriter and actor, born on October 24th 1935 in Warsaw.
His original style of filmmaking consists of an ironic interpretation of reality which mixes elements of documentary elements with absurdity and caricature. Rejs / The Cruise, his 1970 debut feature film which displays characteristics of a documentary, is a quintessential example of his work and is widely regarded as a cult movie. Placed within what is called the 'involved cinema' in Polish filmmaking, his films address socially important issues by combining emotional involvement of the director with the formal asceticism and dry communication of messages.
Clip from Marek Piwowski's 'Overture', available on ninateka.pl
Most of Piwowski's films are satirical and comic while addressing serious issues, he employs both professional and amateur actors, plays with language creating new phraseology, encourages improvisation and uses episodic structures and interpretative observation. According to the filmmaker The Cruise speaks about reality through its various reconstructions:
The need for improvisation came from the fact that I used mental exhibitionism and the movie required natural situations and behaviours, and for dialogues to be made up in front of the camera. (...) Such stuff, to my mind, has a certain value: it is the most authentic record of the state of the minds at the time.
Piwowski's second film, the thriller Przepraszam, czy tu biją? / Excuse Me, Is It Here They Beat Up People?, a story with a sensational plot and structure is simultaneously a treatise on morality and integrity. Lacking the absurd and grotesque elements characteristic of earlier work (the documentaries Muchotłuk / The Fly Killer and Korkociąg / The Screwdriver, and the feature The Cruise), it exhibits visual deformation: the upward and downward shots distort the traditional perspective, deform characters, objects and interiors.
Marek Piwowski graduated in 1963 in Journalism from the University of Warsaw in 1963 and also obtained a degree in Directing from the Łódź Film School / PWSFTviT in 1968. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he worked as a reporter. He has received several awards, among others the Grand Prix at the 2nd Good Humour Festival in the Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot in 2001 the Honorowy Laur Cisowy / Honorary Yew Laurel at the 10th Nowogard Summer with Muses International Film, Music and Painting Festival in 2006. In 2001 he received a Commodore's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
- 1970 - Rejs / The Cruise (co-written by Janusz Głowacki). The plot centers around a man who manages to board a boat offering short trips down the Vistula river passing himself off for a cultural instructor who is meant to entertain the passengers. He organises meetings, competitions and games and easily gains allies on the boat. The boat's micro-community is suddenly overcome with collective enthusiasm for fun. The accidental instructor becomes increasingly intoxicated with his power and authority over the passengers. The film exhibits a grotesque mood, features surrealist dialogues using communist Poland's newspeak. The characters and situations are typical of communist realities. Despite initial critique for "bad composition and lame plot development", Polish audiences consider the picture a cult film.
- 1976 - Przepraszam, czy tu biją? / Excuse Me, Is It Here They Beat Up People? Planning the next robbery and wanting to make sure that his gang members are trustworthy, Belus, plans to deceive the police. Powerless and finding to reason to arrest Belus, the police find a way to introduce their man to the gang. The film was made using the paradocumentary method and features non-professional actors, including the boxers Jerzy Kulej and Jan Szczepański in the leading roles. Awards: 1976 - Grand Prize of the Jury and Audience Award at the Polish Film Festival in Gdańsk; 1977 - "Film" Magazine Złota Kamera / Golden Camera Award for the Best 1976 Film on a Contemporary Subject.
- 1993 - Uprowadzenie Agaty / Hijacking Agata. A melodrama with elements of satire and a portrait of the new political class, a young Gypsy who ran away from prison meets the daughter of parliamentarian named Agata. The two fall in love. When Agata introduces the Gypsy to her father, he is afraid of a scandal that could damage his political career and forbids her to see him. While the parents try to keep Agata locked up, her boyfriend helps her to escape.
- 1997 - Krok / The Parade Step (TV film, 30 mins.) The film portray events and opinions accompanying negotiations on Poland's admission to NATO. Awards: 1997 - Wielki Fe Fe Award for Doing Your Own Thing at the Felliniada Film Review in Skierniewice; 1998 - Brązowy Smok / Bronze Dragon at the Cracow International Short Film Festival.
- 2005 - Oskar (TV film based on Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt). The story of ten-year-old Oscar who is dying from cancer. Oscar makes friends with a volunteer who visits him in the hospital. She suggests that he should treat each day as a decade of living and should write letters to God telling him about his problems. Awards: 2005 – Fenix Award of the Polish Knights of Malta and of the Archbishop Tadeusz Gocłowski, Metropolitan of Gdańsk, for "presenting special moral values"; Totus 2005 Award of the Dzieło Nowego Tysiąclecia Foundation of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate for contribution to the promotion of Christian culture; 2006 - Award of the Foreign Press Association in Poland for the moral values of "Oskar".
- 1965 - Przedział na sto i więcej osób / A Compartment for One Hundred or More People; Uwertura / Overture
- 1966 - Kirk Douglas. Awards: 1967 - 1st Prize for Documentary Film at the Students International Film Festival in Amsterdam.
- 1966 - Muchotłuk / The Fly Killer. Awards: 1967 - "Ekran" Magazine Best Director Award and Audience Award at the Łódź Film School Etude Festival; 1968 - Best Foreign Film Award at the Gerasimov State Institute of Cinematography (WGIK) Film Etude Festival in MoscowDocumentary films.
- 1967 - Pożar! Pożar! Coś nareszcie dzieje się / Fire! Fire! At Last Something Has Happened. Awards: 1968 - Best Debut Award at the Tours Short Film Festival.
- 1968 - Dwie lewe ręce / Two Left Hands; Sukces / Success.
- 1969 - 16 mieć lat / Being Sixteen. Awards: 1969 - Mention of the Polish Journalists' Association (SDP) Film Critics' Club at the Cracow Short Film Festival.
- 1969 - Psychodrama, czyli bajka o Księciu i Kopciuszku wystawiona w zakładzie dla nieletnich dziewcząt w D. / Psychodrama or a Fairy Tale about the Prince and Cinderella, Produced at the Institution for Under-Age Girls in D.
- 1971 - Hair. Awards: 1973 - Złoty Lajkonik Grand Prix at the Cracow Short Film Festival.
- 1971 - Korkociąg / The Screwdriver. Awards: 1971 - Mention of the Łódź Social and Political Film Festival; Srebrny Lajkonik at the Cracow Short Film Festival.
- 1972 - Psychodrama. Awards: 1972 - Silver Dragon and FIPRESCI Award at the Cracow Short Film Festival; 1973 - West German Catholic Centre Award, Evangelical Jury Mention and Society of Higher Folk Schools Award at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival.
- 1973 - Tylko dla dorosłych / Only for Adults.
- 1974 - Zanim doszło do śmierci / Before Death Occurred.
- 1975 - Nałóg / Addiction. Awards: 1976 - 2nd Prize at the Health Education Film Festival in Kielce.
- 1982 - Antypac; Bulgot; Magister Półchłopek.
- 1975 - The Brothers Rico after George Simenon
- 1977 - Trouble Is My Business after Raymond Chandler
- 1981 - Paragraph 4 after Joseph Heller
- 1999 - A jednak olimpiada w Zakopanem! / Zakopane Will Host the Winter Olympics After All (written by Marek Piwowski)
- 1999 - Nóż w głowie Dino Baggio / A Knife in Dino Baggio's Head (written by Marek Piwowski).
Marek Piwowski appeared in the following feature films:
- 1964 - Rysopis / Description (dir. Jerzy Skolimowski);
- 1965 - Walkower / Walkover (dir. Jerzy Skolimowski);
- 1971 - Kłopotliwy gość / The Troublesome Guest (dir. Jerzy Ziarnik);
- 1972 - Trzeba zabić tę miłość / Kill That Love (dir. Janusz Morgenstern);
- 1976 - Wyjazd służbowy / A Business Trip (dir. Andrzej Jerzy Piotrowski);
- 1976 - Przepraszam, czy tu biją? / Excuse Me, Is It Here They Beat Up People?;
- 1977 - Rebus / A Puzzle (dir. Tomasz Zygadło);
- 1981 - Zderzenie / The Collision (directed and written by Grzegorz Skurski);
- 1985 - Sen o Violetcie / A Dream about Violetta in Sny i marzenia / Day and Night Dreaming (dir. Paweł Pitera);
- 1997 - Komu gra ta orkiestra? / Who Is This Orchestra Playing For?, episode 17 of the TV series Dom / A House (dir. Jan Łomnicki);
- 2007 - Ryś / Lynx (directed and written by Stanisław Tym).
Piwowski also appeared in a 1984 documentary film Bez pieniędzy, czyli 24 godziny z życia Jana Himilsbacha / Moneyless or Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of Jan Himilsbach (written and directed by Krzysztof Gradowski) and in a 1966 school etude Każdemu to, czego mu wcale nie potrzeba / Everybody Shall Get What They Do Not Really Need (dir. Grzegorz Królikiewicz).
Author: Halina Olczak-Moraczewska, August 2004. Updated in October 2009. Edited by Marta Jazowska July 2012