Feature and documentary film director, theatre director and scriptwriter. Born April 17, 1952 in Warsaw.
Feature and documentary film director, theatre director and scriptwriter.
His talent first manifested itself in his feature debut Niedzielne Igraszki / Sunday Pranks (1983) produced by the Karol Irzykowski Studio (Gliński was one of its founders). This black-and-white film with an anti-totalitarian message was immediately shelved by the communist authorities. Not released for the next five years, it withstood the test of time - the International Federation of Film Critics awarded Niedzielne Igraszki / Sunday Pranks its FIPRESCI Prize at the Mannheim Festival. To this day, Gliński's most interesting films are those which depict realistic stories, often touching on the problems of individuals caught up in a historical storm. This was the case with Wszystko Co Najważniejsze / All That Really Matters (1992), based on the autobiographical memoirs of Ola Watowa and awarded a Golden Lion at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. Its success went unsurpassed until the drama Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska (2001), a moving portrayal of a teenage girl's loneliness and confusion in a Warsaw tower-block housing estate. A shower of awards followed: a Golden Lion, another FIPRESCI Prize, and Eagle awards for best director and best script.
In 2001 Robert Gliński received a Polityka Passport and a year later the annual award of the Minister of Culture and Art in the film category (with Wojciech Marczewski), and in 2006 a congratulatory letter from Polish President Lech Kaczyński.
In 2000, under the pseudonym Robert Lehman, he made three pilot episodes of a comedy TV series called Izabela.
Gliński has directed over 30 theatre plays, most of them for the Television Theatre. He was nominated in 2003 for the Warsaw Feliks award, an annual theatre award for the best artistic achievement on Warsaw's stages.
Sanatorium Gorkiego / Gorky Sanatorium a development written with Dżamila Ankiewicz-Nowowiejska and never produced, about the events in Kożelsk in 1939-40, was published by Dialog (No. 12, 2002).
A versatile director, he claims that his temperament draws him to different things.
And it's true, as Robert Gliński's feature films include a sci-fi film Superwizja / Super Vision, a comedy Kochaj i rób co Chcesz / Love Me and Do Whatever You Want, and the drama Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska. The director's dilemmas are best illustrated by his 1988 film-about-film comedy Łabędzi Śpiew / Swan Song which won a Silver Lion in Gdynia. The protagonist, a scriptwriter, does not know what film genre to focus on. He sees the same story as a musical, then a love story, then a dark drama. At the root of his creative pain lies the choice: should he make money on films and enjoy the recognition of a broad audience or, not caring about money, listen only to his heart? Gliński must have asked himself those questions. His ambitious debut Niedzielne Igraszki / Sunday Pranks produced in 1983 by the 'cinema engagé' Karol Irzykowski Studio, was not released for several years. The plot is set in a yard among tenement buildings where we observe children playing the day after Stalin's death. The leader of their games is fat Józek who pretends to be a delegate 'to the funeral'. Lending credence to his role with his father's medals, the generalissimo's namesake starts dealing the cards in the game.
He commands: 'Forward march', instigates conflicts, devises schemes. The striking power of these 'pranks' is deadly - a girl hounded by the children dies at their hands, buried alive in the sand. His Niedzielne Igraszki / Sunday Pranks won international recognition. New York's Museum of Modern Art chose it for its New Directors/New Films series. Janet Maslin of The New York Times was charmed by the black-and-white cinematography (the picture was shot on East German high contrast film), but also pointed out that the plot was predictable because, for instance, from the moment the children take in the stray cat, it's clear the animal's hours are numbered ('Totalitarianism, Indoors and Out', New York Times, March 13, 1988).
After his second short feature Rośliny Trujące / Poisonous Plants made for Polish Television in 1985 whose plot was set right after the political thaw of October 1956, Gliński seemed to have found his theme. Was this the case? Yes and no. Yes, because - as he admitted in an interview with Kwartalnik Filmowy, 'I am interested in that contact point between history and the fate of an individual'.
Gliński - rather like the scriptwriter from Łabędzi Śpiew / Swan Song - has never been consistent in his choice of film themes and styles. Insofar as Łabędzi Śpiew / Swan Song, with the ominous grin of Jan Peszek, was noticed in Gdynia, his next film Superwizja / Super Vision shot in a sci-fi film convention passed unnoticed. One reason was the derivative ideas; it is not difficult to notice similarities between the TV fanatics addicted to soothing super-vision and controlled by the secret service and, for example, the characters in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
The budget for his next project, Wszystko co Najważniejsze / All That Really Matters was big enough for production to make it to the Kazakh steppes, where the protagonist Ola Watowa is exiled to a state farm during World War II, not to be portrayed by seaside grass. The film starts with a newsreel from the late 1930s edited like a music video. Everyday scenes alternate with rallies and speeches by politicians whose rule will soon lead to war. The impression is that all this is happening somewhere else, not in the life of Ola Watowa, 'a happy housewife' who is suddenly thrown into the melting pot of history.
I show human fate to which we don't have to succumb blindly. We can control it, influence the way we live. The overriding imperative is faith. It doesn't matter what you believe in - love, God, salvation. Without faith we can never win against fate.
Robert Gliński spoke these words in the context of his later film Wróżby Kumaka / Unkenrufe / The Call of the Toad, but they can also be applied to other films (Tygodnik Powszechny, November 15, 2004).
Following the sinusoidal principle, after Wszystko co Najważniejsze / All That Really Matters came a drama and a comedy. The director called the drama, Matka Swojej Matki / Mother of Her Own Mother (1996), 'a story about stealing feelings'. The critics were less subtle. Jacek Szczerba in his report from Gdynia, beginning with the words 'it was the worst festival in years' wrote,
The triangle of daughter, adoptive mother, and biological mother is awkwardly put together, so to extricate themselves from the situation somehow, in the finale the filmmakers had to reach for a completely incongruous pistol which goes off like Chekhov's gun (Gazeta Wyborcza, October 23, 1996).
Things were no better for Kochaj i Rób co Chcesz / Love Me and Do Whatever You Want (1997), a comedy set in provincial Poland among Disco Polo musicians and fans. The idea was interesting: to use the story of an ambitious organist who becomes a star of Disco Polo, a genre unique and native to Poland, derived from contemporary folk tunes and Italo Disco, to describe a new cultural trend that had gained millions of fans in Poland. Tadeusz Sobolewski called this film 'a fairy tale about love, career, about the opportunities opening up today to guys from the countryside' (Gazeta Wyborcza, April 27, 1998). He also, however, added 'Polish cinema cannot cope with the American dream. The myth of success turns into its own parody'.
He accused the film, he was not the only one, of 'stylistic indecision' and a lack of irony, which meant that instead of 'exposing the ubiquitous kitsch', Kochaj i Rób co Chcesz / Love Me and Do Whatever You Want practically 'advertised Disco Polo'. It is worth mentioning that the dialogues were written by Michał Arabudzki who had previously worked with Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz on a documentary about Disco Polo entitled Bara-bara. That collaboration suggested this would be more than a trivial comedy with a love story in the background, especially since Gliński attaches great importance to realism. Benek, his latest film whose plot unfolds among former miners, is based on a script by journalistic couple Piotr and Irena Morawski, makers of a documentary TV series about Silesia, Serce z Węgla / Heart of Coal. It took him two years to prepare the documentation for a film about Katyń, meant to be his next project after Kochaj i Rób co Chcesz / Love Me and Do Whatever You Want. The idea came from producer Lew Rywin, the script was written by Cezary Harasimowicz. In spring 1999, when the first take was about to be shot, Rywin "announced we wouldn't be making the picture because Andrzej Wajda was planning to make a film about Katyn", reported Robert Gliński.
Gliński did not abandon the topic. News came in July 2002 that he would finally make his feature, this time under the title Sanatorium Gorkiego / Gorky Sanatorium and based on a script by Dżamila Ankiewicz-Nowowiejska.
Gliński's determination stood him in good stead when he was making his most famous and definitely his best film, Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska (2001): Jacek Wyszomirski's script was rejected by eight producers. Consequently, the crew, many of them first-timers, worked for free for a while, shooting one scene a week, and the director personally drove the actresses home afterwards.
Of course this was tiring as hell, because instead of focusing on the film I was playing chauffeur. On the other hand, this kind of improvisation and such slapdash conditions resulted in something unique, in purity, spontaneity, truth - and you can see that in this film. There's the notion of 'low budget', while I invented the concept of 'no budget' for our project. (stopklata.pl)
The production ordeal was resolved with an injection of funds from Polish Television TVP. The director's humility towards reality paid off the best in Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska. The black-and-white cinematography, (there was no money for working out the details of the set in colour) which actually fitted in very well with the film's raw style, was shot at a Warsaw tower-block housing estate in Ostrobramska Street, where the cameraman, Petro Aleksowski, used a long lens to film many scenes. For example, a tramp patiently struggling against the wind which kept overturning the empty can he was trying to crush. The parts of the tower-blocks' young residents were played by youngsters from similar estates, while the main characters were portrayed by girls from a juvenile reform school. The dialogue was largely improvised.
Gliński has said that the subject matter of the film was especially close to his heart:
It bothered me why children became killers. We're used to crimes being committed for money, out of love, jealousy, ideology. But children kill for no reason. If we dig deeper, of course we will find reasons. (Gazeta Wyborcza, Kraków section, September 28, 2001).
Interestingly, when Gliński's drama was being released, Polish cinemas were screening Quo Vadis and Wiedźmin / The Hexer, which had huge budgets by Polish standards, and the warm French film Amelia. The story of Tereska, the teenage Polish 'murderess with no motive', gave rise to a lot of emotion. Apart from enthusiasm, words of doubt were voiced 'Isn't the world of big-city tower blocks painted too darkly?' asked Jacek Szczerba in Gazeta Wyborcza, September 28, 2001.
Aleksandra Gietner, who played the leading role and whose subsequent conflicts with the law were eagerly covered by the press, had her own opinion: 'Real life is even worse than what you see on screen'. (Polityka, January 26, 2002).
After this success, Gliński's filmmaking career came to a halt for four years, not counting two television films. When he does take on a new production, he maintains a modest outlook.
He announced his next film as a 'European production'. The proposal came from Germany, Günter Grass wanted his Unkenrufe / The Call of the Toad to be filmed by a Polish director. The project was shot in Gdańsk, Vilnius, Naples, and the script was a Polish-German collaboration (Paweł Huelle, Cezary Harasimowicz, Klaus Richter). While Gliński has said that he uses history mainly as a backdrop for the tale, focusing on the story of human fates. According to Małgorzata Sadowska of Przekrój, the result is the exact opposite:
Would Gliński find the best form to tell the story of a 29-year-old miner who gets his severance pay from the mine and tries to make a new life for himself? Could the tragicomic Benek repeat the success of Britain's The Full Monty?
The loss of innocence, the initiation into adult life is a recurring motif in Gliński's work. 'I'm interested in people, their feelings, thoughts, fears... In the case of young people, these problems and issues occur with multiplied intensity' (Gliński in October, 2001).
In spring 2008 saw the start of filming for his latest project with young people in the leading roles. The title Świnki / Piggies are teenagers (girls and boys) from towns in the western Polish borderland, prostituting themselves for gadgets, cosmetics… Joanna Didik who wrote the script comes from the Polish-German town of Gubin, where the quasi-documentary cinematography will be shot by the same cameraman who shot Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska. Obviously Gliński has reached the same conclusion as the scriptwriter in Łabędzi śpiew / Swan Song, that "though life is the novel of an idiot, it writes the best scripts". The film premiered 20 May 2011, in Poland.
School etudes (filmmaker):
- 1976 Brama / The Gate;
- 1976 Dwoje bez sternika / Mixed Coxless Pair;
- 1977 Gorączka mleka / Milk Fever, second director
- 1977 Siły na zamiary / More Than One Can Chew;
- 1977 Wolna sobota / Non-working Saturday, second director
- 1978 Pies / The Dog.
- 1979 To także Berlin West / This Is Berlin West, Too (with Paweł Pitera);
- 1979 Nadobnisie i koczkodany / The Pretty and the Dowdy, for TVP;
- 1981 My się nie boimy / We're Not Afraid;
- 1981 Szewc / The Shoemaker, also scriptwriter;
- 1982 Dziewczyna z mgły / Girl From The Mist;
- 1982 Dwójka bez sternika / Coxless Pair;
- 1987 Ja, Żyd / I, a Jew, also scriptwriter;
- 1987 Więzień nr 94287 / Prisoner No. 94287;
- 1987 Nr 181970 / No. 181970;
- 1994 W Nowym Jorku jak w teatrze / New York Like a Theatre, also scriptwriter;
- 2003 Dziewczęta z ośrodka / Girls From a Juvenile Reform School, script Jacek Wasilewski, documentary series;
- 2004 Pisklak / The Chick, also scriptwriter with Jacek Wasilewski.
Feature films (director):
- 1983 Niedzielne igraszki / Sunday Pranks, also scriptwriter with Grzegorz Torzecki. A black-and-white drama inspired by Roma Mahieu's 1976 play Juegos a la hora de la siesta / Games at Siesta Time (the fundamental difference is that in the play, the children's parts are played by adults) and - as insiders claim - Krystyna Kofta's Wióry / Shavings. It's the day after Stalin's death. The residents of a Warsaw tenement house make the sign of the cross in front of the courtyard shrine as they leave their homes. The schizophrenia of those times is visible in the children's games which make laughter stick in your throat. Józek, the son of a communist party dignitary, is waiting for an official car to take him away "for his holidays". The boy takes this opportunity to boost his playground authority and tells the other children he is a delegate to the funeral (which is to say: the High Commander's funeral). To increase his credibility, he steals his father's communist medals. "Just like that colonel in the paper", the children comment on his appearance. But a lust for power and splendour will be Józek's downfall. He will be tempted by other, "dissident" medals pinned to a friend's chest, thus drawing the secret service's attention to his parents. Before that happens, he will initiate games in which we will see communist ideology - as if in a distorting mirror - with all its baggage of artificial poses and rituals (such as the funeral of the cat, with Józek delivering a funeral speech at the grave). Of course a "guilty party" will also be found - a girl standing to one side whom the other children will hound to death. Awards: 1984 - Audience award at the "Youth Behind and In Front of the Camera" Film Confrontations in Białystok; 1986 - Radar weekly's Laurel for skilful creation of reality in Niedzielne igraszki / Sunday Pranks and in the Television Theatre show Szkoda słońca / A Waste of Sunshine; 1987 - Journalists' Award at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; Main Prize at the Young Polish Cinema Festival in Gdańsk; Prize for best directing debut at the Youth and Film Koszalin Film Meetings; Film Ducat, International Catholic Film Award, and FIPRESCI Prize at the International Film Festival in Mannheim; 1989 - Golden Reel from the critics' section of the Association of Polish Filmmakers.
- 1985 Rośliny trujące / Poisonous Plants, also scriptwriter, based on Krzysztof Kąkolewski's novel Notatka / The Report. A half-hour feature film made for TVP, set just after the October 1956 political thaw. The protagonist, Adam the journalist (played by Bogusław Linda), is sent to the country to write a reportage. The image of rural Poland in the eyes of the sensitive young reporter is completely different from the picture in the mind of the editor who ordered the piece.
- 1988 Łabędzi śpiew / Swan Song, script by Bolesław Michałek. A film-about-film comedy of the "filmmaker suffers from artist's block" kind. It's hard to be Fellini (see: 8 1/2) in Poland when it's gloomy outside, hardly any sunshine, the old car keeps breaking down, and your dentist demands exorbitant amounts for treating your aching teeth. Stefan Dziedzic (Jan Peszek) was the scriptwriter for one successful film. How can he repeat that success? He mulls over different scripts - a musical, then a thriller, then a melodrama. "Is it for a festival or for money?" asks his director friend, accurately diagnosing Dziedzic's dilemma; Dziedzic ultimately reaches the conclusion that though "life is the novel of an idiot", it writes the best scripts. Awards: 1988 - Gdańsk Silver Lions at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; 1989 - Award of the Chairman of the State Cinema Committee.
- 1990 Superwizja / Super Vision, also scriptwriter with Ewaryst Giżewski. A grotesque science fiction film repeating the familiar motif of anti-utopia: passive society controlled by the secret service versus an individual trying to "save" humanity. Robert (Jan Nowicki), until recently addicted to super-vision - television that gives people a calming illusion of reality, tries to pull other TV addicts from their lethargy.
- 1992 Wszystko co najważniejsze / All That Really Matters, script by Dżamila Ankiewicz-Nowowiejska. A film based on the memoirs of Ola Watowa (played by Ewa Skibińska) which start with the words: "All that is the most important in my life is linked to Aleksander" (played by Krzysztof Globisz). We meet the two of them when they and their son Andrzej are already in Lvov. They fled there from Warsaw to escape the Nazis, knowing their Jewish descent and futurist poet Aleksander's communist sympathies would work against them. "Despite everything, I believe the Slavs are better than the Germans", Wat says in the film. He's wrong. Soon he is arrested by the NKVD together with other Polish writers, while his wife and child are sent to a state farm in the Kazakh steppe, which is tantamount to sentencing them to death by starvation. Only her love for her husband and the hope that they will meet again enables Ola, a gentle lady and once a prominent member of Warsaw's literary salons, to get herself and her son through their Asian ordeal. "I saw the devil's laughter. I saw him. It was the devil of history", Wat summed up later. The film was Poland's candidate for an Oscar for best foreign film. Awards: 1992 - Gdańsk Golden Lions Main Prize for best film, journalists' award, special mention for cinematography for Jarosław Szoda and for sound for Mariusz Kuczyński and Krzysztof Jastrząb (the first time a film in Poland was re-recorded in Dolby Stereo) at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; 1994 - Leliwita bronze statuette at the Festival of the Best Polish Feature Films in Tarnów; Peace Prize at the Festival of Central and Eastern European Cinema in Trieste.
- 1996 Matka swojej matki / Mother of Her Own Mother, also scriptwriter with Joanna Żółkowska. Psychological drama. We meet Alicja (Maria Seweryn) just before her school-leaving exams and her departure for the United States, where she and her mother (Joanna Żółkowska) are to join her father. She is a student at the conservatory, but her violin playing does not satisfy her teacher, "it lacks heart, and soul". Alicja herself also seems stripped of emotion; she is an excellent student from a nice home and her greatest dilemma is how to transport her parrot in its cage overseas. Accidentally discovering that she was adopted destroys the 18-year-old's well-ordered life and releases hitherto unknown emotions: from pain and bitterness to hatred. She finds her biological mother - a mentally unbalanced habitual liar and would-be beat-music star (Krystyna Janda in a role very much reminiscent of the alcoholic in My Mother's Lovers) - and sets off with her on a trip to the seaside. When she returns, there will be no trace left of the polite student, and her old family life will be in ruin.
- 1997 Kochaj i rób co chcesz / Love Me and Do Whatever You Want, script and dialogues by Michał Arabudzki. Ambitious young organist Sławek (Rafał Olbrychski) fails to win a foreign scholarship and returns to his home town of Kaliszewo. Waiting for him are his disappointed family and his fiancée, the daughter of a local businessman, who wants to drag him to the altar. Sławek dreams of more than the life of a family man financially dependent on his father-in-law. He agrees to stand in for a musician in the band of Samanti (Katarzyna Bujakiewicz). That's how he ends up in the Disco Polo business, and is a success. It doesn't stop him from composing an organ concerto. Awards: 1999 - an Eagle, the Polish Film Award, for best sound and best editing.
- 2001 Cześć Tereska / Hi, Tereska, also scriptwriter with Jacek Wyszomirski. Black-and-white drama set in a tower-block estate. Ola (Aleksandra Gietner from a juvenile reform school in Otwock) is 15 and seems rather like Miss Nobody from Tomek Tryzna's famous novel from the early 1990s. She, too, is quiet, introverted, lonely, from a humble though not poor family (her mother's a dressmaker, her father's a policeman who loses his job after a drunken row). The only thing that makes her special is her dream to be a fashion designer. When she fails to get into an art secondary school, she enrols at a tailoring school. Instead of honing her unquestionable skills there, she looks for company. She is befriended by Renata (Karolina Sobczak, also from a juvenile reform school) who starts her lessons in the laws of life from "everybody here steals". The road from the first cigarette and the first swallow of cheap wine to the first blow aimed at the alcoholic disabled porter with whom Tereska used to wait for her mother after school when she was little, is lined with suffering, dashed hopes, and a huge desire for acceptance, not to say - love. Her goodness and naivety, of which first her boyfriend takes advantage by raping Tereska, and then twice Renata by stealing from her, turns into (self)aggression and leads her to commit a crime. Awards: 2001 - Gdańsk Golden Lions Jury Grand Prize, journalists' prize and the Golden Claqueur prize - an audience award for the director of the longest-applauded film, Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; Krzysztof Kieślowski Award for best European film, International Film Festival in Denver; 2002 - an Eagle, the Polish Film Award, for: best director, best script for Jacek Wyszomirski, best film of the year, best actor for Zbigniew Zamachowski, and the audience award; Polityka Passport; Golden Reel from the critics' section of the Association of Polish Filmmakers; Golden Duck from Film weekly; Special Prize from the organizers of the Prowincjonalia Polish National Festival of Film Art in Września; Golden Jańcio, main prize at the Prowincjonalia Film Review in Słupca near Konin; Maszkaron - the audience award (Tarnów Film Award) at the Festival of the Best Polish Feature Films in Tarnów; Juliusz Burski Prize from the organizers of the Lubuskie Film Summer in Łagów; Warsaw Mermaid, award from the Film Critics Club of the Association of Polish Journalists; audience award for best Polish film, Film Summer in Kazimierz Dolny; Jury Special Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Don Quixote at the Karlovy Vary Festival; Silver Dolphin for best director, International Film Festival in Troia; Golden Lily, GoEast Festival in Wiesbaden; award for best director, International Film Festival in Setubal (Portugal).
- 2004, Długi weekend / Holiday Weekend, script by Jarosław Sokół. A comedy-drama made for TVP. A bachelor (Krzysztof Globisz) and a single librarian in her forties (Joanna Żółkowska) win a holiday weekend at a five-star hotel in the "Blind Date" TV show. She sits in a blouse buttoned to her chin reading the [intellectual] "Tygodnik Powszechny" weekly, he is a joker from a military band who buys [the satirical magazine] Nie, which together with his uniform disqualifies him in Marta's eyes. To her as a former oppositionist, even by just conducting a band Krzysztof carries all the evil of martial law on his shoulders and belongs in the drawer marked "evil". "Good", meanwhile, is found in a poet with Solidarity roots who has just moved into the hotel and who finds the company of this intrusive female fan a pain. Observing the behaviour of the activist-librarian, the hotel community is split into two camps - those who want to celebrate 1 May [worker's day] and those who choose 3 May [Constitution day]. "It's high time to look at history from a distance and shake hands", Gliński said during the Gdynia festival (from PAP, 14 September 2004). Awards: 2005 - award at the Chicago International Television Competition.
- 2005, Krajobraz / Landscape in: Solidarność, Solidarność / Solidarity, Solidarity, also scriptwriter. A fictionalised documentary for TVP, one of 13 films made by different directors for the 25th anniversary of Solidarity. From the Gdynia festival Tadeusz Sobolewski reported, "Robert Gliński's project seemed exceptionally apt to me: a group of Japanese tourists is sightseeing around the [Gdańsk] Shipyard which is overgrown with weeds, and looks like historical ruins where wild cats roam; the guide's story isn't translated, we can't understand it. It would be hard to find a better metaphor - we have exported the memory of Solidarity to history, even for us that idea is now incomprehensible, we cannot access it, just as if we were Japanese ourselves." (Gazeta Wyborcza, 14 September 2005).
- 2005 Wróżby kumaka / Unkenrufe / The Call of the Toad, a Polish-German co-production, script by Cezary Harasimowicz, Paweł Huelle, Klaus Richter. Based on the prose of Günter Grass, this is a love story about two people in their sixties who have been hard tried by history and struggle with stereotypes of Polish-German relations. The year is 1989. Communism in Poland is almost over, the wall is coming down in Germany. At a fair in Gdańsk, two people bump into each other: Aleksandra Piątkowska, a historic buildings conservator (a dynamic Krystyna Janda lighting a cigarette from a commemorative candle at the monument to the shipyard workers) and Alexander Reschke, an art history professor (Matthias Habich). She was a member of the communist Union of Polish Youth (ZMP) as a young girl, he was in the Hitlerjugend. His parents were from Gdańsk and had to leave the city after the war, hers were from Vilnius where they were not buried even though that had been their last wish. The widow and widower decide to thumb their noses at history and establish the Polish-German-Lithuanian Cemetery Association so that the last living members of their parents' generation can be buried in their birthplaces. Insofar as the Polish woman and German man are able to maintain a sense of humour about themselves thanks to an intellectual distance ("I come from a barbarian tribe", Aleksandra banters), mutual prejudice is much harder to overcome in a social dimension. The title toad is a fire-bellied toad whose croak (a bad omen in German tradition) resounds in the film like the derisive laughter of history which Wat wrote about. Grass praised the film for the irony with which Gliński portrayed Polish-German relations, though he also noted that "all references, retrospectives, whether linked to the times of the Hitlerjugend or a communist youth organization, all this seems artificial, as if it were dressed in costume" (a PAP report from the press conference preceding the film's premiere, 11 May 2005). Awards: 2006 - Jury Special Prize at the "Love is Folly" Festival in Varna.
- 2007 Benek, script by Piotr and Iwona Morawski. A tragicomedy. Benek (Marcin Tyrol, a native of Silesia) has lost his job at the mine and received a severance package. Now he has to overcome his own fear, shyness, and find a new occupation "above ground".
- 2014 Stones for the Rampart based on Aleksander Kamiński's Kamienie na szaniec / Stones For the Rampart.
Second director, bit parts:
- 1979, Mysz / The Mouse, second director;
- 1980, Misja / The Mission (TV series), second director;
- 2003, Superprodukcja / Superproduction, dir. Juliusz Machulski, as himself;
- 2005, Wróżby kumaka / Unkenrufe / The Call of the Toad, man leaving the sex-shop.
He has also directed the following plays:
- 1990 Separation (Tom Kempinski), Zygmunt Hübner Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, premiere 17 March;
- 1992 Mein Kampf (George Tabori), Stefan Jaracz Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw, premiere 19 December;
- 1992 The Double-bass (Patrick Süskind), Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw;
- 1994 Antygona w Nowym Jorku / Antigone in New York (Janusz Głowacki), Teatr Nowy in Poznań, premiere 21 January;
- 1994 Czytadło / Page Turner (Tadeusz Konwicki), Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw, premiere 23 April;
- 1994 Nieszpory Ludźmierskie / Ludźmierz Vespers, Baduszkowa Musical Theatre in Gdynia, premiere 24 September;
- 1995 Henry IV (Luigi Pirandello), Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw, premiere 30 March;
- 1996 Romans / The Affair (Emilian Kamiński), Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw, premiere 19 December;
- 1998 The Bald Soprano (Eugene Ionesco), Wanda Siemaszkowa Theatre in Rzeszów, premiere 14 October;
- 2000 Luv (Murray Schisgal), Wanda Siemaszkowa Theatre in Rzeszów, premiere 30 January;
- 2000 A Chambermaid's Diary (Octave Mirbeau), Adam Mickiewicz Theatre in Częstochowa, premiere 23 September;
- 2001 The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh), Teatr Nowy in Poznań, premiere 21 April, and Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw, premiere 19 October 2002;
- 2006 I to mi zostało / And This Is What's I'm Left With, director's supervision over a monodrama by Krystyna Feldman, based on her biographical story Krystyna Feldman albo festiwal tysiąca i jednego epizodu / Krystyna Feldman, or the Festival of a Thousand and One Bit Parts, written down by Tadeusz Żukowski, Tadeusz Łomnicki Teatr Nowy in Poznań, premiere 16 December.
Plays he directed for the Television Theatre:
- 1985 Szkoda słońca / A Waste of Sunshine (Jacek Janczarski);
- 1986 The Bishop Murder Case (S.S. Van Dine);
- 1988 The Hymn (Gyorgy Schwajda);
- 1990 Krótka noc / Short Night (Władysław Terlecki);
- 1990 Na pełnym morzu / Out at Sea (Sławomir Mrożek);
- 1991 Separation (Tom Kempinski);
- 1992 The Psalms of David;
- 1992 Bajki, czyli obraki z dziecinnego pokoju / Fairy Tales, or Pictures From the Nursery (Aleksander Fredro), show for children;
- 1993 The Lover (Harold Pinter);
- 1993 Każdy w bunkrze na swoim cukrze / All in the Bunker With Their Own Sugar (Miron Białoszewski), poetic performance;
- 1993 A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens);
- 1993 Mein Kampf (George Tabori);
- 1993 Pat (Pavel Kohout);
- 1995 Maria Stuart / Mary Stuart (Fryderyk Schiller);
- 1996 Farsa z Ograniczoną Odpowiedzialnością / Farce with Limited Liability (Władysław Zawistowski);
- 1996 To Julia (Margareta Garpe);
- 1997 Book of Paradise (Itzik Manger);
- 2001 Good Grief (Keith Waterhouse).
Author: Małgorzata Fiejdasz, August 2007.
Updated in May 2011.