Robert Więckiewicz is a film and theatre actor. He was born on 30th June, 1967, in Nowa Ruda.
Film and theatre actor. Awarded for his roles in films such as In Darkness, Wałęsa. Man of Hope and Courage.
Więckiewicz graduated from the Faculty of Acting at the Theatre Academy in Wrocław. After graduation, he joined the Polish Theatre in Poznań. He made his debut there in the double role of George Gibbs and Wally Webb in Our Town by Thornton Wilder, directed by Jan Błeszyński (1993). Więckiewicz played on the Poznań stage until 1998.
Later, he appeared in a more contemporary repertoire, in Brutalist plays created by the Theatre Society, which was founded by Paweł Łysak and Paweł Wodziński. He starred in Shopping and Fucking by Mark Ravenhill (1999) and Fire in the Head by Marius von Mayenburg (1999) directed by Łysak, as well as Blasted by Sarah Kane, directed by Wodziński (1999). Więckiewicz worked with Łysak again in 2001 in the Polish Theatre in Poznań where he played Michał in Wolność (editor's translation: Freedom) based on Leon Kruczkowski.
He has also cooperated with theatres in Warsaw. In the years 1999-2001 he worked at the Rozmaitości Theatre, where he played Rogozhin in Prince Myszkin based on The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna (2000), and the Actor in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, staged by Krzysztof Warlikowski (2001), among others.
Więckiewicz vividly portrayed Titus in the highly popular Testosteron (Testosterone), a story about seven frustrated men by Andrzej Saramonowicz, directed by Agnieszka Glińska (2002) in the Montownia Theatre in Warsaw. He collaborated with the National Theatre, where he was the King in Marek Modzelewski’s Koronacja (Coronation) directed by Łukasz Kos (2004). The King represents the alter-ego of the main character – a thirty-year-old doctor who tries to rebuild his life after the break-up of his relationships and the death of his father. In Więckiewicz’s performance the King made self-ironic comments on reality and the actions of the protagonist, revealing the truth with no mercy. Then the actor played Konrad Stefaniak in Saramonowicz’s 2 Maja (May 2nd) directed by Glińska (2004), a failed attempt to settle accounts with the Communist past.
Więckiewicz also performed in the Television Theatre. On the small screen he appeared in a contemporary repertoire, playing Stiopa in Janusz Głowacki’s Czwarta Siostra (The Fourth Sister) directed by Agnieszka Glińska (2003) and Daniel in Agnieszka Lipiec-Wróblewska’s Ameryka, część druga (America, Part Two) by Biljana Srbljanović (2006). He took part in two TV shows by Piotr Łazarkiewicz – as Vitaly in the Dead Princess by Nikolai Kolyada (2004), and one of the characters in Fotoplastikon by Krzysztof Bizio (2005).
The actor’s film debut took place in 1993 in A.W.O.L. by Feliks Falk showing the brutal world of military barracks and the so-called ‘wave’ phenomenon (the creation of an informal hierarchy and subculture among soldiers doing compulsory military service). His first major roles were in films by Tomasz Konecki and Andrzej Saramonowicz. He played the wannabe screenwriter Mateusz in the comedy Pół Serio (Half Joking, 2000), which accurately and ironically portrays the Polish film community, and the former organist and gravedigger Julek in Ciało (Body, 2003) – an intelligent pastiche of gangster films filled with absurd humour.
A year later Więckiewicz starred in the crime comedy Vinci by Juliusz Machulski, in the leading role of Robert Cumiński ‘Cuma’, who is ordered to steal the painting Lady with an Ermine after getting out of jail. The actor received an honourable mention for this role at the Noir in Festival in Italy. Due to his tough-guy look Więckiewicz has often been cast as a mafia soldier and other underworld characters. For example, in the series The Officer by Maciej Dejczer (2004-2005) he played Cypa, an ‘axeman’. The actor excelled in such powerful, sensational cinema. The culmination of this type of role was the well-played, multidimensional character of Jan 'Blacha’ Blachowski from a Pruszków gang, a ruthless thug and yet an emotional man capable of sacrifice who begins to cooperate with the police. ‘Blacha’ was first portrayed in the dramatic series Odwróceni (Insiders) directed by Jacek Filipiak, Jarosław Sypniewski, Michał Gazda and Urszula Urbaniak (2007), which later became the basis of the feature film The State Witness (2007).
In 2007, Andrzej Więckiewicz played in All Will Be Well by Tomasz Wiszniewski – a thrilling representation of a small boy’s big trip to Częstochowa to pray for a miracle – curing his mother of cancer. Paweł is a talented athlete, who is accompanied by his P.E. teacher Andrzej – a coach and inveterate alcoholic.
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As Więckiewicz said about the role in an interview for Wysokie Obcasy:
The most curious for me was the relationship between Paweł – the child, and Andrzej – a rather emotionally immature man. He is an alcoholic, but I was more interested in the life trap he couldn’t free himself from than the outward manifestations of his illness. A beautiful story about friendship. Extreme emotions, a bit funny, a bit sad. It touched me. The script made me cry.
The actor received awards for the roles of ‘Blacha’ and Andrzej at the festival in Gdynia.
On the big screen Więckiewicz appeared in the comedy The French Trick (2006) by Robert Wichrowski, and in the poetic South by North (2006) by Łukasz Karwowski, in which he played five peculiar characters, including a monk, a mushroom picker and a truck driver, as well as in Strawberry Wine (2007) by Dariusz Jabłoński in the role of Semen Wasylczuk, based on Andrzej Stasiuk’s Tales of Galicia. The actor continues to work with Konecki, in his latest production Ladies (2008) – a story about the lives of four liberated women, in which he played the playboy Marek Dywanik. He also appeared in Juliusz Machulski’s film How Much Does the Trojan Horse Weigh? in the role of a tyrant husband. In 2008 Więckiewicz starred in Londoners by Greg Zgliński and Maciej Migas, a series about the fate of Poles trying to settle down abroad.
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In Jan Kidawa-Błoński’s 2010 film Little Rose, he played an undercover government agent who decides to send his girlfriend on a mission under pressure from his superiors, and as a result she leaves him for the sake of a writer under observation. Łukasz Muszyński wrote for Filmweb:
Robert Więckiewicz fantastically portrays an animal torn by extreme emotions, incapable of overcoming the loss of his woman.
Więckiewicz received an Eagle (Polish Film Award) for Best Actor.
A year later Więckiewicz starred in Courage by Greg Zgliński. As the actor said in one interview:
This is a family story, marked by love, hate, and envy. These are feelings that we all feel towards our loved ones. Sometimes we like them, and sometimes we don’t, we love them or not, we sometimes envy them and so on. In this film there are two brothers. The younger one is played by Łukasz Simlat and the older one is played by me. There is a conflict between them. It is uncertain how it would have evolved, if it were not for a dramatic incident that changes their lives.
"W ciemności" - zwiastun from Culture.pl on Vimeo.
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Several other films starring Więckiewicz hit screens in 2011: 4.13 to Katowice directed by Andrzej Stopa, Man, Chicks Are Just Different by Marek Koterski and In Darkness by Agnieszka Holland. The main role in Holland’s film brought Więckiewicz a number of individual awards. He also received a Golden Lion and an Eagle for the role of a sewer worker from Lviv rescuing Jews during World War II. Paweł T. Felis wrote in Gazeta Wyborcza:
The transformation of a hustler (...) into a person who selflessly risks the lives of his loved ones to help Jews sounds like a naïve plot. Even if it reflects the facts: Socha is an authentic character, like the other heroes of the film (the screenplay is based on the book In the Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall). In the film, of course, this transformation is made legitimate by the extraordinary performance of Robert Więckiewicz, rightly praised at home and in the US.
The film by Agnieszka Holland was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Another production in which Więckiewicz took part was a candidate for this prestigious award. In Wałęsa. Man of Hope the actor personified the legendary leader of Solidarity. Thanks to Więckiewicz, Andrzej Wajda’s biographical story about Lech Wałęsa acquired an ironic dimension – instead of a film monument, it is simultaneously a tribute and a caricature. And though after the premiere Wałęsa said he was certainly not such a buffoon as the film suggests, critics and audiences were delighted by the imitation skills of the Polish actor.
The Literary Więckiewicz
In 2014 Więckiewicz performed one of his most powerful roles. In The Mighty Angel, an adaptation of Jerzy Pilch’s novel directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, Więckiewicz played a writer-alcoholic, whose only hope of breaking the vicious cycle of addiction is the love of a woman. Under the direction of Smarzowski he gave a remarkable anti-aesthetic and emotionally involving performance.
A year later, another literary adaptation starring Robert Więckiewicz appeared in cinemas. In A Grain of Truth the actor played the prosecutor Teodor Szacki, a character from Zygmunt Miłoszewski’s novel cycle. In Borys Lankosz’s film the criminal intrigue intertwines with the story of hidden anti-Semitism, and Więckiewicz once again proved his versatility as an actor.
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Więckiewicz in A Cat with a Dog directed by Janusz Kondratiuk, 2018. Photo: Akson Studio
In 2015 Więckiewicz played the main role in Jerzy Zieliński's Król Życia (The King of Life) and in 2016 he appeared in Alexandros Avranas's international production True Crimes alongside world-famous stars: Jim Carrey and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
The year 2018 belonged to Więckiewicz. He appeared in the box-office hit, Clergy by Smarzowski in the role of priest Trybus, one of the three main characters of the film. He also starred in Janusz Kondriatuk's A Cat with a Dog. Adding to his cinematic roles, Więckiewicz also played in the two most sensational TV series of the season – 1983 and Blinded by the Lights.
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polish film actor
polski theatre actor
wałęsa. man of hope
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All Will Be Well
1993 – distinction for the role of the Time in The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare directed by Bogusław Kierc from the Theatre Academy in Wrocław at the 11th National Review of Theatre School Performances in Łódź;
1996 – Rose – critics award for Best Actor by Dziennik Poznański;
- 2003 – distinction for the role of Tytus in Testosteron (Testosterone) by Andrzej Saramonowicz directed by Agnieszka Glińska in Montownia Theatre in Warsaw at the 43th Theatre Meetings in Kalisz;
- 2004 – special distinction for the role of Robert Cumiński Cuma in the film Vinci directed by Juliusz Machulski at the Courmayeur International Mystery Festival – Noir in Festival;
- 2007 – award in the Best Sensational Series Actor category for the role of ‘Blacha’ in Odwróceni at the Cieszyń Film Festival Wakacyjne Kadry (Summer Frames); Best Actor award for the role of Andrzej in All Will Be Well directed by Tomasz Wiszniewski and ‘Blacha’ in The State Witness directed by Jarosław Sypniewski, Jacek Filipiak and Michał Gazda at the 23rd Polish Film Festival in Gdynia;
- 2008 – Best Actor award for the role of Andrzej in Tomasz Wiszniewski’s film All Will Be Well at the Festroia International Film Festival in Setúbal, Portugalii; Eagle (Polish Film Award) Award in the Best Actor category for the same role; Best Actor award at the 15th National Film Festival in Września for the same role;
- 2009 – How Much Does the Trojan Horse Weigh? – Eagle (Polish Film Award) in the category: Best Supporting Actor for the year 2008;
- 2010 – Pokój v dusi / Soul at Peace – Slnko v Sieti, Slovak Film Award nomination in the category: Best Supporting Actor; – The Dark House – Eagle (Polish Film Award) nomination in the category: Best Supporting Actor;
- 2011 – Courage – Warsaw (Warsaw Film Festival) Special Award of the Jury for Best Actor; Little Rose – Eagle (Polish Film Award) Award in the category: Best Actor for the year 2010;
- 2011 – In Darkness – Chicago (Polish Film Festival in America) Genius Award;
- 2012 – In Darkness – Eagle (Polish Film Award) Award in the category: Best Actor for the year 2011; W ciemności / In Darkness – Gdynia (Gdańsk until 1986) (Polish Film Festival; Gdynia Film Festival since 2012) Best Actor Award;
- 2013 – Wałęsa. Man of Hope – Chicago (MFF) Silver Hugo;
- 2014 – The Mighty Angel – Września (National Film Festival Prowincjonalia) Jańcio Wodnik Award for Best Actor; The Mighty Angel – Tokyo (International Film Festival) Actor’s Award; Wałęsa. Man of Hope – Eagle (Polish Film Award) nomination in the category: Best Actor;
- 2015 – The Mighty Angel – Eagle (Polish Film Award) nomination in the category: Best Actor.
Author: Monika Mokrzycka-Pokora, December 2008; ed.: April 2015 – Tomasz Sałaciński. Update: BS, transl. Bozhana Nikolova, May 2015, update & translation Feb 2019 NS