Krzysztof Zanussi

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Krzysztof Zanussi

Krzysztof Zanussi in 2014
Born (1939-06-17) 17 June 1939
Warsaw, Poland
Education National Film School in Łódź
Occupation Film director and producer

Krzysztof Zanussi, (born 17 June 1939) is a Polish film and theatre director, producer and screenwriter. He is a professor of European film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland where he conducts a summer workshop.[1] He is also a professor at the Silesian University in Katowice.


Zanussi studied physics at Warsaw University (Uniwersytet Warszawski) and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) in Kraków. A graduate of the prestigious National Film School in Łódź (1967).

He is a director of the Polish Film Studio TOR and has received several prizes and awards, including the David di Donatello Prize of the Accademia del Cinema Italiano, the Cavalier's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order, and the Cavalier de L'Ordre des Sciences et Lettres.

Krzysztof Zanussi has written On editing an amateur film (1968), Discourse on an amateur film (1978) and a book of memoirs The Time to Die (1997). He appeared as himself in Camera Buff (1979), a film about an amateur film maker, directed by his friend Krzysztof Kieślowski. His film The Constant Factor (1980) (Polish: Constans) received the Jury Prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.[2] During the 1980s, he spent much of his time in the West.

Among the films that he made during this time was a film entitled From A Far Country: Pope John Paul II (1981) about the life of Karol Wojtyła in the context of the complicated history of modern Poland.[3] His 1989 film Inventory was entered into the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.[4] His 2000 film Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease won the Golden St. George at the 22nd Moscow International Film Festival.[5]

His 2002 film The Supplement was entered into the 24th Moscow International Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI Special Mention.[6]

Zanussi in Warsaw

Zanussi has described his 1996 film, At Full Gallop, as his most autobiographical work. It follows the director through several years of his boyhood in Poland under post-World War II Communism and subsequent career in oven design. Zanussi served at the head of TOR Film Studio in the eighties. When asked about his experience as a producer he said, "Despite the work of the censors the zespół [state-owned film company] system assured a partial autonomy to our cineastes during the Communist era".[7]

According to the records of Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) since 1962 to 1964 Zanussi was registered without his consent as a secret collaborator of communist Służba Bezpieczeństwa codename "Aktor". He had several conversations with communist secret service officers, however he never began to act as a secret collaborator. Zanussi talks openly about his contacts with SB but denies any wrongdoing.[8]

He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award on 20 November 2012 at the 43rd International Film Festival of India held in Goa.

In April 2013, he began shooting a film The Foreign Body[9] starring Agata Buzek, Agnieszka Grochowska and Weronika Rosati. The script to Foreign Body was written by Zanussi. The film's premiere was scheduled for 2014.[10]

Selected filmography


  1. Krzysztof Zanussi Faculty Website at the European Graduate School. Includes biography and filmography.
  2. Jury Prize in 1980 at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980
  3. Krzysztof Zanussi,; accessed 24 November 2015.
  4. "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  5. "22nd Moscow International Film Festival (2000)". MIFF. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  6. "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  7. "The Zespol System assured a partial autonomy to our cineastes', An Interview with Krzysztof Zanussi". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  8. "Zanussi był zarejestrowany przez SB". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  9. "PRODUCTION: Zanussi Begins Shooting The Foreign Body".
  10. About Foreign Body, Chicago International Film Festival webpage; accessed 24 November 2015.
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