While students of the Łódź Film School daydreamed about leaving for the West, his dream was to study in Poland. While, after graduation, they dreamt about an international career, he, the then political emigrant, longed for the Polish language. With a noble grace of an intellectual, produced by entire generations of highly educated ancestors, he expressed harsh judgements about other artists. He has always called a spade a spade, which often hurt someone’s feelings. He was called the enfant terrible of the Polish cinema.
The personality of Andrzej Żuławski did not manifest only in relations with the cinema community, but above all in his work. He created a unique film language, more often than not deliberately transgressing the boundaries of kitsch and baroque resplendence. As a writer and author of more than 20 novels, he wrote scripts for his films by himself. He demanded complete devotion to the role from both actors and actresses. The scene from the movie ‘Possession’, with the leading role of Isabelle Adjani who goes into convulsions, became a legend. Fast, rhythmical editing and meticulously arranged production design were also of essence in Żuławski’s cinema. The atmosphere was superbly accentuated by music, usually by Andrzej Korzyński, the directors classmate and one of his few permanent collaborators.
This overall original attitude to cinema was the result of his studies at the Directing Department of the former IDHEC (today known as La Fémis). His master thesis was devoted to Andrzej Wajda’s ‘Kanal’. After graduating, he became his assistant while shooting Samson. He still performed the function while producing ‘Love at Twenty’ and ‘The Ashes’. Although the encounter with the already well-known and reputed director was an important event, it did not have any major impact on his further artistic choices. After showing his original feature debut ‘The Third Part of the Night’ to Wajda, the director explicitly advised him to re-edit the movie. Żuławski refused, confident of his artistic strategy. In the years to follow, he consistently developed his distinctive style, although the audience did not immediately appreciate all of his works.
When you watch Żuławski’s movies today, you hardly notice that they had been created in a given place and time. It is just the opposite. Their style and aesthetics are timelessly captivating. The issues the director touches upon – from the nature of the inherent evil in people, the dread of madness, the universal need of religiousness, a disturbing theme of a dead ringer, to devotion and love – are still relevant. The questions that Żuławski asked about the specificity of cinema as a spectacle, and the status of the actor in the contemporary culture, are by no means less fascinating.
2000 Fidelity|Wierność|La fidélité
1991 The Blue Note|Błękitna nuta|La note bleue
1989 Boris Godunov|Borys Godunow
1989 My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days|Moje noce są piękniejsze od waszych dni|Mes nuits sont plus belles que vos jours
1987 On the Silver Globe|Na srebrnym globie
1985 Mad Love|Narwana miłość|L’amour braque
1984 The Public Woman|Kobieta publiczna|La femme publique
1981 The Night the Screaming Stops|Opętanie|Possession
1975 The Main Thing Is to Love|Najważniejsze to kochać|L’important c’est d’aimer
1972 The Devil|Diabeł
1971 The Third Part of the Night|Trzecia część nocy
1968 Pavoncello| (short)
1968 The Story of Triumphant Love|Pieśń triumfującej miłości (short)