Krzysztof Krauze

Krzysztof Krauze

Infobox actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Krzysztof Krauze

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birthdate = Birth date and age|1953|4|2|mf=y
location = Warsaw, Poland
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spouse = ? (1974 - 1975)
Ewa Salacka (1979 - 1983) (divorced)
Joanna Kos (1 March 2004 - present)
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Krzysztof Krauze (April 2, 1953-) is a multiple award winning Polish film director, scriptwriter, photographer and cinematographer from Warsaw best known for his 1999 film thriller "Debt".

Early years

Krauze was raised by a nanny and his father in Warsaw. His mother was actress Krystyna Karkowska who had little time for him as she was always busy to keep her acting career going.

Krauze graduated from the faculty of cinematography of the Łódź film school, but the job of a film director was always on his mind. In 1978-83 he worked for the Studio of Little Film Forms SE-MA-FOR in Łódź. In the early 1980s he decided to emigrate, but failing to make a presence in his profession, returned to Poland and turned to directing. Between 1983-85 he worked for the Karol Irzykowski Studio, and then, until 1995, for TOR Productions. In the early 1990s Krauze made commercial spots and for a while sat on the Programme Board of the Andrzej Munk TV Studio of Debut and on the Artistic Board of the Karol Irzykowski Studio. He has been a member of the European Film Academy since 2001.

Film career

Having returned from the two-year emigration, Krauze made the documentary "Jest", a work he considers uniquely important in his output. This one-hour-long documentary was produced in the Irzykowski Studio, and shows a pilgrimage going from the village of Zbrosza Duza near Grojec to meet the Pope in Częstochowa in 1983. The pilgrims recollect the events that took place in their village in the 1960s, when militia and special security forces desecrated the Holy Sacrament. Jest received an award of Solidarity in 1984 as well as an award of the Parisian "Kultura". The film proved the gateway to the reputable TOR Productions managed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Zanussi.

1988 "New York, 4 a.m"

Krauze's first feature film "New York, 4 a.m." was completed in 1988, a black comedy noted for its Czech style was well received by the audience. The film deals with life in a provincial town moving around the local prison and the nearby bar, frequented both the chief of the prison, prisoners on a pass, and their relatives. A collection of characters appears: a prisoner on a pass, pretending to plan an attack on the truck said to transport money; a pretty buffet attendant dreaming of love and of going to America; a friend of hers, looking for a great career opportunity; a cook who proves a talented drummer; a good-natured chief of prison; a young woman with a baby, intent on forcing her boyfriend, doing time, to marry her; a travelling salesman; and a miracle collector. They all have some dreams, which, though unattainable, may suddenly come through. The film won several awards including Jerzy Owsiak's Award of Friends of Chinese Towels; Young Polish Cinema, Gdańsk, 3rd prize in the feature film category; PFFF Gdynia, best directing debut award), but the professional critic community, however, were highly critical of it. New York, 4 a.m. told a certain truth about the Polish realities of the 1980s, when the system transformation were yet to start. It reflected the condition of the spirit of the society of those years, the communist stagnation in a world deprived of hope, in which dreams matter so much.

Responding to professional criticism, Krauze considered his success a failure and did not return to making documentaries and features until 1992 and 1996, respectively.

1996 "Street Games"

His other documentaries, "Counterintelligence", "Fell Down, died and drowned" deal with issues he would later take up in the film "Street Games" in 1996 about the notorious assassination of a Cracow student and oppositionist Stanislaw Pyjas by Poland's secret services in the 1970s, made to look like an accident. The film shows two young journalists investigating the case of Pyjas's death in the 1990s. Street Games is noted for its animated imagery and poetic use of language to serve to comment on the protagonist's thoughts. Like "Debt" the film deals with negative amoral behaviour, recounting a true crime, covered in the press, whose perpetrators have been punished with high sentences. As the film's director and co-screenwriter, Krauze took care to ensure authenticity when presenting the events, the psychological portraits of the protagonists and the social background. As critic Krzysztof Ociepa wrote about the film, "The close match between the reality shown in the film and our image of the reality outside the screen is to me one of the keys to the film's success". Other critics however, saw in the film ill-matched postmodernist stylistics.

Despite this the film won several awards including a 1996 - PFFF Gdynia, Special Jury Award; Machiner "Machina" Magazine Award for the best Polish film; 1997 - Tarnów Film Award, Tarnów, Maszkaron Viewers' Award and Leliwita Bronze Statue - Main Prize).

1999 "Debt"

In 1999 he directed the critically acclaimed "Debt" a multi-layered suspense thriller about two decent young men who got into trouble in business. Searching for capital to invest, they get into a gangster trap. Unable to see a way out and failing to find support from the police, they commit brutal murder and then admit to guilt. The film dealt with the realization that nightmares affect ordinary people, looking at the solidarity of the protagonist. As Krauze commented on the film: "We want to be free in order to become again hostages of our own desires. The thing about desires is that they cannot be satisfied... Fear is born when our plans and desires are under threat. Today's media, with their promotion of the consumer life-style and of happiness as a result of owning, play a major part in multiplying our desires and, consequently, in violence." ("Tygodnik Powszechny" no 11/2002).

The evil in Debt is not embodied by a gangster. It is built into the desires of two young protagonists. Their desires drive their action and make them blind to non-material values. The image of reality offered by the film must be the result of a penetration of the darkest corners of human soul and is more akin to Dostoyevsky than to Hrabal.

2000:"Big Things"

In 2000 Krauze directed "Wielkie Rzeczy" ("Big Things"). While emotions are the main topic, it is objects that play a major role in the development of the plot. A different object in each film - a TV set, a car and a mobile phone - they all are important in contemporary times and affect the lives of ordinary people.

2004:"My Nikifor"

"My Nikifor" directed in 2004 is considered a masterpiece one of the most highly and widely honored works of Polish cinema.

It was screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – one of the world's oldest and most film festivals,The film deals with the main character - Epifaniusz Drowniak, a physically and mentally handicapped naïve painter, dismissed as a village idiot in his health-resort hometown of Krynica Gorska. He eventually became known as Nikifor Krynicki (1895-1968), a real life acclaimed painter who despite his past was able to produce small paintings mostly water colors and gouaches – in which he combined realistic observations with his own emotions. They were shown in 1932 in "Galerie Leon Marseille" in Paris and have been highly prized by collectors ever since.

The film recounts the difficult friendship that developed between Nikifor and a young academic painter, yearning for artistic greatness, who discovered the old man's genius and gave up his own mediocre career to nurture that of the greater artist.

Following critical and popular acclaim in Poland, at the 2005 Karlovy Vary festival "My Nikifor" won the main awards Crystal Globe for best film, Best Director, and Best Actress.

The film and its star Krystyna Feldman went on to win top awards at festivals around the world, including the Valladolid International Film Festival, Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, International Film Festival in Pune, India, the Panorama of European Cinema in Athens, the Chicago International Film Festival, where the film won the Golden Hugo Award, and Roman Gancarczyk, who plays the younger artist, won the Silver Hugo – and the Denver International Film Festival, where "My Nikifor" won the Krzysztof Kieślowski Award for Best European Film.ds.

Awards and critical acclaim

The film "Debt" won countless awards including the 1999 PFFF Gdynia, Golden Lions Grand Prix for the best film and Journalists' Award; The Warsaw Mermaid - Polish Journalists' Association Film Critic Club for the best feature film; NEW POLISH CINEMA FESTIVAL in Wrocław, Grand Prix; 2000 -Cultural Award of "Polityka" weekly in the film category - "Polityka's Passport" for 1999; Machiner "Machine" Magazine Award for a Mass Audiencje Film for 1999; Golden Tape of the Writers Club of the Polish Journalists' Association for the best Polish 1999 film (ex aequo with Andrzeja Wajda's PAN TADEUSZ; NATIONAL CINEMA ART FESTIVAL "PROWINCJONALIA" in Września, the Jancio Wodnik Grand Prix; Polish Eagle Film Award for the best 1999 director and the best screenplay; Tarnów Film Award, Young Jury Award, Viewers' Award and the Silver Leliwita Statue Special Award; LUBUSKIE FILM SUMMER FESTIVAL in Lagow - the Juliusz Burski Award; 2001 - IFF Filadelfia, award for directing).

Krauze is a winner of other numerous awards, including the Passport of the weekly Polityka in 2002, Polish Eagle Film Award for best directing and screenplay, Warsaw Mermaid Critics Club Award and Golden Tape Polish Filmmakers' Association Award in 2002. His films won prizes at film festivals, including the Grand Prix at the Gdynia POLISH FILM FESTIVAL for DEBT. In 1997 he was named the Man of the Year by "Zycie", the national daily.

"Game" received the Polish Journalists' Association Award at the 2000 PFFF in Gdynia.

As an actor

Krauze has appeared in the following films: Jozef Gebski and Antoni Halor's OPIS OBYCZAJOW (DESCRIPTION OF HABITS) from 1972; Krzysztof Rogulski's SIEDEMSET SIEDEMDZIESIAT SIEDEM (SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVEN) from 1972; and Jacek Borchuch's KALLAFIORR from 1999, where he was also the co-author of the screenplay.


Krzysztof Krauze is also the author of photography in the Leszek Baron's 1975 film etude KROLOWA LALEK (QUEEN OF DOLLS) and the author of the screenplay of the Roman Huszczo's 1981 cartoon OBLICZENIE (CALCULATION). Certain photographs by Krauze have been used by Dariusz Jablonski in his 1998 film FOTOAMATOR (AMATEUR CAMERAMAN).

Personal life and health

In 2006 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and went through an operation.

Krauze was briefly married between (1974 - 1975) and in 1979 married Polish actress Ewa Salacka. However in 1983 they divorced. Incidentally Ewa Salacka died of a wasp sting in 2006.In 2002 Krauze married Polish screenwriter Joanna Kos.

He has a child with Malgorzata Szurmiej.


*1976 PIERWSZE KROKI (FIRST STEPS) Documentaries and shorts - director
*1977 SYMETRIE (SYMMETRIES) also author of the screenplay, photography and sets - a combined
*1978 ELEMENTARZ (FIRST READER) - a combined film
*1979 DEKLINACJA (DECLENSION) - also author of the screenplay - a combined film(Awards: 1979 - INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, Kraków, FIPRESCI award)
*1979 DWA LISTY (TWO LETTERS) also author of the screenplay - a combined film(Awards: 1979 - Confrontations of Young Filmmakers and Viewers, Białystok; PSFF Kraków, Brazowy Lajkonik; ISFF Kraków, FIPRESCI award)
*1981 DZIEN KOBIET (WOMEN'S DAY) also author of the screenplay - short feature
*1984 JEST, also author of the screenplay (with Leszek Wosiewicz) - documentary(Awards: 1984 - YOUNG POLISH CINEMA, Gdańsk, 2nd prize in the short film category; Paris, "Kultura" award; nagroda "Kultury", "Solidarity" Cultural Award)
*1984 ROBACTWO (VERMIN) - documentary(Awards: 1986 - YOUNG POLISH CINEMA, Gdańsk, 3rd prize in the short film category)
*1988 NOWY JORK - CZWARTA RANO (NEW YORK, 4 A.M.) also author of the screenplay (with Andrzej Rozeslaniec and Jan Tomczak)
*1993 NAUKA NA CALE ZYCIE (LEARNING FOR LIFE) also author of the screenplay - documentary
*1994 KONTRWYWIAD (COUNTERINTELLIGENCE) also author of the screenplay (with Jerzy Morawski) - documentary
*1994 NAUKA TRZECH NARODOW (TEACHING OF THREE NATIONS) also author of the screenplay - documentary
*1994 OGRODY TADEUSZA REICHSTEINA (TADEUSZA REICHSTEIN'S GARDENS) also author of the screenplay - documentary
*1994 SPADL, UMARL, UTONAL (FELL, DIED, DROWNED) - also author of the screenplay (with Jerzy Morawski) - documentary
*1996 DEPARTAMENT IV (DEPARTMENT IV) also author of the screenplay - documentary
*1996 GRY ULICZNE (STREET GAMES) also author of screenplay (with Jerzy Morawski)
*1997 STAN ZAPALNY (INFLAMMATORY CONDITION) also author of the screenplay (with Jerzy Morawski) - documentary
*1999 DLUG (DEBT) also author of the screenplay (with Jerzy Morawski)
*2000 WIELKIE RZECZY (BIG THINGS) also author of the screenplay (with Jarosław Sokol, based on Sokol's short stories) - a TV series made up of three one-hour films SYSTEM, GRA (GAME) and SIEC (NET).

External links and sources

* [ Polish culture]
* [ Polish news]

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