Paweł Pawlikowski

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Paweł Pawlikowski
Born 1957
Warsaw, Poland

Paweł Pawlikowski (born 1957) is a Polish-born, Paris-based, BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker and academic. He garnered much acclaim for his BAFTA Award-winning Last Resort which he wrote and directed in 2000 and My Summer of Love, loosely based on Helen Cross' novel, which also won a BAFTA and a string of other awards at festivals around the world.

Life and career[edit]

Pawlikowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a family of "Polish intelligentsia".[1] At the age of 14, Pawlikowski left communist Poland to live in Germany and Italy, before settling in Britain. In the late 1980s and 1990s Pawlikowski was best known for his documentaries, whose blend of lyricism and irony won him many fans and awards around the world. From Moscow to Pietushki was a poetic journey into the world of the Russian cult writer Venedikt Erofeev, for which he won an Emmy, an RTS award, a Prix Italia and other awards.[2][3] The multi-award winning Dostoevsky's Travels was a tragi-comic road movie in which a St Petersburg tram driver—and the only living descendant of Fyodor Dostoevsky—travels rough around Western Europe haunting high-minded humanists, aristocrats, monarchists and the Baden Baden casino in his quest to raise money to buy a secondhand Mercedes. Pawlikowski's most original and formally successful film was Serbian Epics (1992), made at the height of the Bosnian War. The oblique, ironic, imagistic, at times almost hypnotic study of epic Serbian poetry, with exclusive footage of Radovan Karadžić and General Ratko Mladić, aroused a storm of controversy and incomprehension at the time, but has now secured it something of a cult status. The absurdist Tripping with Zhirinovsky, a surreal boat journey down the Volga with the Russian would-be dictator (Zhirinovsky) has won Pawlikowski the Grierson award for the Best British Documentary in 1995.

Pawlikowski's transition to fiction occurred in 1998 with a small 50-minute hybrid film Twockers, a lyrical and gritty love story set on a sink estate in Yorkshire, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ian Duncan.

Between 2004 and 2007 he was a Creative Arts Fellow at Oxford Brookes University. In addition to his native Polish, Pawlikowski is fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Russian while having a good grasp of Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.

In 2004 he directed My Summer of Love with Emily Blunt and Natalie Press.[4]

In 2006 he filmed about 60% of his adaptation of Magnus Mills' The Restraint of Beasts when the project was halted—his wife had fallen gravely ill and he left to care for her and their children.[5] His wife died several months later.

In 2011 he directed a film loosely adapted from Douglas Kennedy's novel The Woman in the Fifth, starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.[6]

On 19 October, 2013, his film Ida won the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival, on the same night that Anthony Chen, one of his National Film and Television School pupils, won the Sutherland Prize for the Best First Film, for Ilo Ilo.[7] Ida is about a woman studying to be a nun who discovers that she is of Jewish heritage (Pawlikowski's own paternal grandmother was Jewish, and had died in Auschwitz).[1][8][9]

Future projects include an original English language feature Epic and a Georgian/Russian-language film Kamo about the early career of Joseph Stalin.[10]



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Screenonline. Accessed 2014-05-26. The title of Erofeev's novel (or prose poem) has been variously translated, but Pawlikowski's documentary is in English and is titled in English.
  3. ^ Pawlikowski, Pawel. "Filmography". Pawel Pawlikowski — Writer and Director. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  4. ^ A Quick Chat With Pawel Pawlikowski
  5. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (20 September 2007). "Pawel Pawlikowski takes on Stalin". Variety (magazine). Retrieved 21 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas top 'Women' – Thesps to star in indie thriller based on novel
  7. ^ "Master and Pupil honoured by LFF on the same night". UK Screen. October 20, 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Pawel Pawlikowski Masterclass

External links[edit]