Krzysztof Zanussi
About the artist
Biography and filmography
S. Zawiśliński, Zanussi - Przemiany
Films in the programme
Other tags

With a Warm Heart - trailer

The Structure of Crystal - part

Illumination - part

About the artist
Krzysztof Zanussi

Director, screenwriter, producer, one of the most famous Polish filmmakers, winner of multiple awards. Creator of feature films and documentaries, theatre and opera performances in Poland and abroad. Moralist, intellectual, cosmopolitan. Born on 17 June 1939 in Warsaw.

About Zanussi

Before attending the Łódź Film School, he studied physics at the University of Warsaw (1955-1959) and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University (1959-1962, he was taught by Roman Ingarden himself).It was then that he made his first films in the Amateur Film Club at the University of Warsaw. As a student of the National Film, Television & Theatre School he made bold and innovative etudes. His graduation work, The Death of a Provincial (1966) won prizes at international festivals. His cinema debut, The Structure of Crystal (1969) was a step towards a film essay. Zanussi can be seen here as an artist with a personal approach to his work, who sets his films in an autobiographical context, a cinema metaphysician who believes in image and at the same time as a rationalist who makes films about intellectuals and mainly for intellectuals; and finally as a moralist who avoids educative tones.The 1970s were the golden era of his work.Among his output at this time are: Behind the Wall (1971) - a low-key and congenial TV film, the first to be referred to as the moral anxiety of the Polish cinema; Illumination (1973), the most radical form of a film essay; Cammouflage (1976) - a hallmark of themoral anxiety trend. Also in the 1970s, Zanussi made his first films abroad (mainly in Western Germany). Foreign co-productions, mainly historical drama films, dominated the director's work in the 1980s. Among them was the artistic success of The Year of the Quiet Sun (1984), winner of the Venetian Golden Lion. From a Far Country (1981), a feature film striving to present the pope, John Paul II, to western audiences, marked the beginning of a separate trend in Zanussi's work: confession films devoted to important figures of the catholic religion. His films made abroad were hardly known in his motherland. Only two of them were screened at cinemas in Poland then:The Year of the Quiet Sun (after its success in Venice) and Wherever You Are... (1988, screened at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia). Zanussi attempted to find his way back to the Polish audience again and to return to the earlier poetics of private, intimate films with the Inventory (1989). After the Round Table breakthrough, he became one of the most popular and universal filmmakers. He not only directs and writes screenplays, he is also a producer and artistic curator of other artists' works (he is involved in the "Tor" film studio, and has been its director and art manager since 1979). He writes for newspapers and he made a series of educative TV feuilletons: Rozmowy w ogrodzie (1992) and Spotkania domowe (1993) and a series of short TV stories The Weekend Stories (1996-97 and 2000). He made more confession films: Life for Life (1990, about the saint, Maximilian Kolbe), Our God's Brother (1997, a story about the saint, Brother Albert, based on a play by Jan Paul II). In 1995, the director made At Full Gallop, an autobiographical recollection of his childhood, loosely linked episodes forming a terrifying and funny picture of the Stalinist times. In the last ten years, the artist has brought his favourite types of characters back to cinema screens. A mature, cynical intellectual returned in Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (2000) and Persona non grata (2005), in both films played by Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. And the so-called Zanussi-style character: a young, uncompromising intellectual, disappointed with the surrounding reality, comes back in The Supplement (2002) and the director's latest film, With a Warm Heart (2008).

Krzysztof Zanussi is also active in various institutions: as a member of the European Film Academy and since 1997 - of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters. He also belongs to the Polish PEN-Club, Authors' Association and Polish Academy of Learning. Since 1992, he has been a professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Winner of many prizes and special awards, including the Robert Bresson award from the Minister of Culture of the Vatican, Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jerusalem IFF (2002), Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2000), award for film producers from the President of the Cinematography Committee (1991), First Rank State Award (1984), "Lumiere" International Film Prize (1987), Third Rank Award from the Minister of Culture and Art (1971), "Merit for Culture" medal (2005) and Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta for distinguished merits for Polish culture (1999).


1957 Na usypisku (kr.m. / short film)

1958 Tramwaj do nieba / The Tram to Heaven (kr.m. / short film)

1959 Diabeł kulawy / The Lame Devil (kr.m. / short film)

1960 Cement I słowa / Cement and Words (kr.m. / short film)

1960 Dach / The Roof (kr.m. / short film)

1961 Ułan i dziewczyna (kr.m. / short film)

1961 Parasol przy pogodzie / The Umbrella for Good Weather (kr.m. / short film)

1961 Łapać złodzieja / Stop Thief (kr.m. / short film)

1961 Samolot z Budapesztu / A Plane from Budapeszt (kr.m. / short film)

1962 Holden (kr.m. / short film)

Studenci / Students (kr.m. / short film)

1966 Przemyśl (kr.m. / short film)

1966 Śmierć prowincjała / The Death of a Provincial (film dyplomowy / diploma film, kr.m. / short film)

1966 Maria Dąbrowska (kr.m. / short film)

1967 Komputery / Computers (kr.m. / short film)

1967 Twarzą w twarz / Face to Face (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1968 Krzysztof Penderecki (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1968 Zaliczenie / Attestation (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1969 Struktura kryształu / The Structure of Crystal

1970 Góry o zmierzchu / Mountains at Dusk (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1971 Życie rodzinne / Family Life

1971 Rola / Die Rolle / The Role (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1971 Za ścianą / Behind the Wall (TV)

1972 Hipoteza / Hypothesis (TV, kr.m. / short film)

1973 Iluminacja / Illumination

1974 Morderstwo w Catamount / The Catamount Killing

1974 Bilans kwartalny / The Quarterly Balance

1975 Miłosierdzie płatne z góry / Nachtdienst / Night Duty (TV)

1977 Barwy ochronne / Camouflage

1977 Lutosławski, Penderecki, Baird (TV, dok. / doc.)

1977 Lekcja anatomii / Anatomische Stunde / Anatomy Lesson (TV)

1977 Dom kobiet / Haus der Frauen (TV)

1978 Spirala / Spiral

1979 Drogi pośród nocy / Wege in der Nacht / The Ways in the Night (TV)

1980 Constans / The Constant Factor

1980 Kontrakt / The Contract (TV)

1980 Mój Kraków / Mein Krakau TV, dok. / doc.)

1981 Pokuszenie / Versuchung / The Temptation (TV)

1981 Z dalekiego kraju: Papież Jan Paweł II / Da un paese lontano: Papa Giovanni Paolo II / From a Far Country

1982 Watykan - stolica kultury / Capitoli Culturali / The Capital of Culture (dok. / doc.)

1982 Niedostępna / Unerreichbar / The Unapproachable (TV)

1982 Imperatyw / Imperativ / Imperative

1983 Sinobrody / Blaubart / The Bluebeard (TV)

1984 Rok spokojnego słońca / The Year of Quiet Sun

1985 Paradygmat, czyli potęga zła / Paradigma

1987 Wygasłe czasy / Erloschene Zeiten / Time That Passed (TV, dok. / doc.)

1988 Gdzieśkolwiek jest, jeśliś jest… / Wo Immer Du Bist / Wherever You Are

1989 Stan posiadania / Inventory

1990 Życie za życie / Leben für Leben - Maximilian Kolbe / Life for a Life

1990 Długa rozmowa z ptakiem / Das Lange Gespracht mit dem Vogel / Long Conversation with a Bird

1990 Pani Walewska w / in: Napoleon (TV)

1992 Dotknięcie ręki / The Silent Touch

1996 Cwał / In Full Gallop

1997 Brat naszego Boga / Our God's Brother

1995-99 Opowieści weekendowe / Weekend Stories (TV): Damski interes / A Woman's Business, Słaba wiara / Little Faith, Urok wszeteczny / Deceptive Charm, Ostatni krąg /The sacrum, Linia opóźniająca / Delatory Line, Niepisane prawa / Unwritten Law, Dusza Śpiewa / The Soul Sinus, Skarby ukryte / Hidden Tresaures

2000 Życie jako śmiertelna choroba przenoszona drogą płciową / Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease

2002 Suplement / The Supplement

2005 Persona non grata

2005 Czołgi / The Tanks w / in: Solidarność, solidarność / Solidarity, solidarity… (TV)

2006 Czarne słońce / Il Sole nero / A Black Sun

2008 Serce na dłoni / With a Warm Heart

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