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The Past

Unknown Soldier: Jerzy Kawalerowicz

It really is an oxymoron to call Jerzy Kawalerowicz an unknown film director. His films competed at the most prestigious film festivals: Mother Joan of the Angels (1960) was awarded at Cannes, Pharaon (1965) received an Oscar nomination and Death of a President (1977) won Silver Bear at Berlinale. But he also made other movies that deserve our attention.
The beginnings of Kawalerowicz’s career date back to the infamous era of socialist realism when he developed his own specific style (Shadow). He was also a prominent representative of the Polish Film School movement (Night Train). In the 1960s, he came with a surprising psychological drama The Game and he didn’t lose hope even during the dark period of Polish cinematography, retrieving the old world of Polish Jews in his film Austeria.
If you like psychological dramas with distinct imagery, Kawalerowicz’s movies are just for you! They are characterised by thorough psychological analysis of characters tracing their inner struggles and transformations and by a unique visual form and elegance.


Petr Vlček is a film historian and a director of Warsaw’s Czech Centre He specialises in Polish cinema. He’s been collaborating with the Summer Film School since 2007. In 2011, he became one of our programmers.

Maciej Gil is a film historian, journalist, lecturer and a former programming director of the Cinema on Borders festival. He is also a chief of the Federation of Polish Film Clubs and a long-term associate of the Summer Film School.

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