Oscar Directors: Pawlikowski, Pawell (Polish)–Background, Career, Awards

Research in Progress, Jan 5, 2023

father, doctor, mother English literature professor at University of Warsaw.

 

Pawlikowski (Polish) born 15 September 15, 1957, is a Polish filmmaker. He garnered early praise for documentaries in the 1990s and for his award-winning feature films of the 2000s, Last Resort (2000) and My Summer of Love (2004).

His success continued with the 2013 Ida, which won Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, and Cold War (2018), for which Pawlikowski won the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Fest and was nominated for the Best Director Oscar, while the film received nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Pawlikowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a father who was a doctor and a mother who started as ballet dancer and later became an English literature professor at University of Warsaw.

In his late teens, he learned that his paternal grandmother was Jewish and had been murdered in Auschwitz. At the age of 14, he left communist Poland with his mother for London. What he thought was a holiday turned out to be a permanent exile. A year later he moved to Germany, before finally settling in Britain in 1977. He studied literature and philosophy at Oxford University.

Career
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Pawlikowski was best known for his documentaries, whose blend of lyricism and irony won him many fans and awards around the world. From Moscow to Pietushki was a poetic journey into the world of the Russian cult writer Venedikt Erofeev, for which he won an Emmy, an RTS award, a Prix Italia and other awards.[5][6] The multi-award-winning Dostoevsky’s Travels was a tragi-comic road movie in which a St Petersburg tram driver and the only living descendant of Fyodor Dostoevsky, travels rough around Western Europe haunting high-minded humanists, aristocrats, monarchists and the Baden-Baden casino in his quest to raise money to buy a secondhand Mercedes.[citation needed]

Pawlikowski’s most original and formally successful film was Serbian Epics (1992), made at the height of the Bosnian War. The oblique, ironic, imagistic, at times almost hypnotic study of epic Serbian poetry, with exclusive footage of Radovan Karadžić and General Ratko Mladić, aroused a storm of controversy and incomprehension at the time, but has now secured it something of a cult status. The absurdist Tripping with Zhirinovsky, a surreal boat journey down the Volga with controversial Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, won Pawlikowski the Grierson Award for the Best British Documentary in 1995.[citation needed]

Pawlikowski’s transition to fiction occurred in 1998 with a small 50-minute hybrid film Twockers, a lyrical and gritty love story set on a sink estate in Yorkshire, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ian Duncan. In 2001 he wrote and directed Last Resort starring Dina Korzun and Paddy Considine, which won a BAFTA, the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at Edinburgh and many other awards. In 2004 he wrote and directed My Summer of Love starring Emily Blunt and Natalie Press, which won a BAFTA, the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film and many other awards.

In 2006, he filmed about 60% of his adaptation of Magnus Mills’ The Restraint of Beasts when the project was halted—his wife had fallen gravely ill and he left to care for her and their children.

In 2011, he wrote and directed a film loosely adapted from Douglas Kennedy’s novel The Woman in the Fifth, starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.

On 19 October 2013, his film Ida (starring Agata Kulesza) won the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival, on the same night that Anthony Chen, one of his students at the National Film and Television School, won the Sutherland Prize for the Best First Film, for Ilo Ilo.

Ida won the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar on February 23, 2015, the first Polish film to do so.

In the same year, he was a member of jury headed by Alfonso Cuarón at the 72nd Venice Film Fest.

In 2017, Pawlikowski adapted Emmanuel Carrère’s biographical novel Limonov (2011), based on the life of Eduard Limonov, into a screenplay. Pawlikowski planned to direct the film adaptation but revealed in 2020 that he lost interest in the character and abandoned plans to direct.

Cold War earned him the Best Director Award at the 2018 Cannes Film Fest. It also won five awards at the 2018 European Film Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress Awards.

In 2019, he was one of the members of the jury at the Cannes Film Fest.

Pawlikowski’s next film, The Island, is scheduled to begin filming in 2023. The film is inspired by true events and will star Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara as an American couple in the 1930s, who leave behind civilization to live on deserted island.

Pawlikowski grew up a Catholic, but says that he finds the Catholic Church in Great Britain to be easier to grow in faith in than that in Poland.

Pawlikowski was a Creative Arts Fellow at Oxford Brookes University from 2004 to 2007. He teaches film direction and screenwriting at the National Film School in the UK and the Wajda Film School in Warsaw.

He speaks six languages including German and Russian.

Pawlikowski’s first wife, who was Russian, developed serious illness in 2006 and died months later. They have a son and a daughter.

After his children left for university, Pawlikowski moved to Paris, and later relocated to Warsaw, where he lives close to his childhood home.

At the end of 2017, he married Polish model and actress Małgosia Bela.

Filmography

Director Writer Producer
1987 Open Space Yes No No TV Documentary Series
1990 From Moscow to Pietushki with Benny Yerofeyev Yes Yes No TV Movie Documentary
1991 Dostoevsky’s Travels Yes No Yes
1992 Serbian Epics Yes No Yes
1994 Tripping with Zhirinovsky Yes No Yes
1998 Twockers Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Ian Duncan
1998 The Stringer Yes Yes No Feature Film
2000 Last Resort Yes Yes No
2004 My Summer of Love Yes Yes No
2011 The Woman in the Fifth Yes Yes No
2013 Ida Yes Yes No
2014 Lost in Karastan No Yes No
2018 Cold War Yes Yes No
Awards and nominations
See also: List of accolades received by Ida
See also: Cold War (2018 film) § Accolades
Academy Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
2015 Best Foreign Language Film Ida Won
2019 Best Director Cold War Nominated
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
British Academy Film Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
2001 Best British Film Last Resort Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer Won
2005 Best British Film My Summer of Love Won
2014 Best Film Not in the English Language Ida Won
2018 Best Direction Cold War Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
Golden Globe Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
2015 Best Foreign Language Film Ida Nominated
European Film Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
1992 Best Documentary Dostoyevsky’s Travels Special Mention
2001 European Discovery Last Resort Nominated
2005 Best Film My Summer of Love Nominated
Best Director Nominated
2014 Best Film Ida Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenwriter Won
People’s Choice Award Won
2018 Best Film Cold War Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenwriter Won
Polish Film Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
2006 Best European Film My Summer of Love Won
2014 Best Film Ida Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
2019 Best Film Cold War Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Won
British Independent Film Awards

Year Category Work Result Refs
2000 Best Director Last Resort Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
2004 Best Director My Summer of Love Nominated
2014 Best Foreign Independent Film Ida Nominated
2018 Cold War Nominated
Film festivals and other award ceremonies

Year Award Category Work Result Refs
2013 38th National Polish Film Festival Golden Lions for Best Film Ida Won
2014 30th Seattle International Film Festival Best Director 3rd runner-up
2015 72nd Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
2018 71st Cannes Film Festival Best Director Cold War Won
2018 43rd National Polish Film Festival Golden Lions for Best Film Won
Critics’ Circle

Year Award Category Work Result Refs
2014 9th Dublin Film Critics’ Circle Awards Best Director Ida #3
2014 Indiewire 2014 Year-End Critics Poll #10
2019 39th London Film Critics’ Circle Awards Cold War

Pawlikowski was made Honorary Associate of London Film School.

In 2019, he was awarded the title of an honorary citizen of Warsaw.