Having written and directed all of his films, Andrzej Zulawski has created works inhabited by magnetic performances, combining destructive passions, violent Manichaeism and lyricism. He is particularly acclaimed for his great talent as a filmmaker and actors’s director, and has worked with Romy Schneider, Sophie Marceau, Isabelle Adjani, Francis Huster, Jacques Dutronc, Guillaume Canet, Lambert Wilson or Valerie Kaprisky, amongst many others.
Andrzej Zulawski was born in 1940 in Poland, and grew up between Warsaw and Paris, following his father who was both a Polish diplomat and a poet. After finishing school, Zulawski settled down in Paris to pursue his studies in cinema at the IDHEC, and in social sciences at the Sorbonne. He then returned to Poland to become the assistant director of the prominent Andrzej Wajda on the shooting of SAMSON (1960) and THE ASHES (1965). He also published both his own poems as well as film critiques for the Polish review Film between 1966 and 1968.
He made his directorial debut in 1967 with a medium length film entitled THE STORY OF TRIUMPHANT LOVE, for which he earned the Honours diploma of the Los Angeles Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His first full length feature, THE THIRD PART OF THE NIGHT (1971) was widely acclaimed and earned many international prizes. As Zulawski’s career grew, he had difficulties with the Soviet regime, eventually facing censorship for his film THE DEVIL (1972), and thus decided to return to France where he found greater tolerance for his freedom of tone and his outrageous form.
In 1974, he co-wrote and directed THAT MOST IMPORTANT THING: LOVE (1975), an adaptation of Christopher Frank’s “La Nuit Americaine”. The film’s success allowed him to return to Poland, where he shot SUR LE GLOBE D’ARGENT, an adaptation of his great uncle’s, Jerry Zulawski, science-fiction novel. Yet the Polish authorities suspended the shooting just days before its end, and the film was shown in Poland only ten years later, in 1987.
He then went to Germany to shoot the French-German coproduction POSSESSION in Berlin. The film is about a marital crisis between a secret agent and a woman possessed by a strange power. It was selected for the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival where the lead actress Isabelle Adjani won the award for Best Actress.
The shooting of MAD LOVE, based on “The Idiot” by Dostoïevski, was particularly important for Żuławski, as it was his first encounter with Sophie Marceau, who would later become his wife. He directed her again in MY NIGHTS ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOUR DAYS, adapted from Raphaële Billetdoux’s bestseller, and, later in FIDELITY (2000), freely inspired by “The Princess of Cleves” by Madame de La Fayette and produced by Paulo Branco.
Zulawski has also worked for theatre and has written more than a dozen of novels and short stories since 1970. In 1996, he was awarded the Legion of Honour and the Knighthood of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.
For the past 15 years, he has been living in Poland, where he was called upon to participate in the the reconstruction and the elaboration of Poland’s cultural policy, which had to be reconstructed after the fall of Communism.
1991: La note bleue
1989: Boris Godounov
1989: My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days
1987: Sur le globe d’argent
1985: Mad Love
1984: La femme publique
1975: That Most Important Thing: Love
1972: The Devil
1972: The Third Part of the Night