Jerzy Kawalerowicz

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Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Jerzy Kawalerowicz portrait.jpg
Born (1922-01-19)19 January 1922
Gwoździec, Poland, (now Hvizdets, Ukraine)
Died 27 December 2007(2007-12-27) (aged 85)
Warsaw, Poland
Occupation Film director
Years active 1952–2001
Kawalerowicz's star on the Łódź Walk of Fame

Jerzy Kawalerowicz (19 January 1922 – 27 December 2007) was a Polish film director and politician, having been a member of Polish United Workers' Party from 1954 until its dissolution in 1990 and a deputy in Polish parliament since 1985 until 1989.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Kawalerowicz was born in Gwoździec, Poland, one of the few Poles living in an ethnically-mixed Ukrainian and Jewish town. Kawalerowicz's father's family originated from Armenia, originally having the surname Kavalarian.[2] Jerzy Kawalerowicz was noted for his powerful, detail-oriented imagery and the depth of ideas in his films. After working as an assistant director, he made his directorial debut with the 1951 film The Village Mill (Gromada). He was a leading figure in the Polish Film School, and his films Shadow (Cień, 1956) and Night Train (Pociąg, 1959) constitute some of that movement's best work.

Other noted works by Kawalerowicz include Mother Joan of the Angels (Matka Joanna od Aniołów, 1961) and a 1966 adaptation of Bolesław Prus' historical novel, Pharaoh (Faraon), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[3][4]

In 1955 Kawalerowicz was appointed head of the prestigious KADR production unit. He held that position again in 1972. He always resisted pressures from the communist administration to produce propaganda films. His studio produced some of the best Polish films by Andrzej Wajda, Tadeusz Konwicki and Juliusz Machulski.

In 1969 he was a member of the jury at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival.[5] In 1975 he was a member of the jury at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival.[6] In 1976 he was the head of the jury at the 26th Berlin International Film Festival.[7] Two years later, his film Death of a President won the Silver Bear for an outstanding artistic contribution at the 1978 festival.[8] At the 11th Moscow International Film Festival he was a member of the jury and was awarded with the Honorable Prize for the contribution to cinema.[9]

As a long-time communist, in 1983 he signed government reports criticizing filmmakers aligned with Solidarity.[citation needed] He died on 27 December 2007 in Warsaw, Poland. His last film, Quo Vadis, had the largest budget for a Polish movie as of 2011.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Privett, Ray (2001-12-03). "For God and Country (Or Maybe Not)". Central European Review. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  3. ^ "The 39th Academy Awards (1967) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  4. ^ a b "Quo Vadis back on screen". BBC Online. BBC. 2000-04-11. Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  5. ^ "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  6. ^ "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  7. ^ "Berlinale 1976: Juries". Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  8. ^ "Berlinale 1978: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  9. ^ "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 

External links[edit]