Krzysztof Zanussi

Professor at The European Graduate School / EGS.


Krzysztof Zanussi (b.1939 in Warsaw) is a Polish filmmaker, writer, theatre director, and producer.

A professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, he also teaches at Warsaw Film School and serves as director of TOR Film Production. One of the most important contemporary European filmmakers, he has directed over 80 films so far.

Zanussi holds a degree in physics from the University of Warsaw (1959) as well as a degree in philosophy from Jagiellonian University, Kraków (1962); in 1966, he graduated from Łódź Film Academy with the short film Smierc prowincjala /“Death of a Provincial”, which won awards at the film festivals of Venice, Valladolid, Moscow, and Mannheim. This was followed by numerous other prizes and awards, including a Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival (1973), a David di Donatello Award of the Accademia del Cinema Italiano (1981), the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival (1984), the Golden St. George at Moscow International Film Festival (2000), the Kristian Award at Febiofest in Prague (2001), a Flaiano International Award (“honorary Award to career achievements”, 2002), or the Lifetime Achievement Award at 13th Transilvania International Film Festival (2014).

Zanussi was awarded the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), and is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates at institutions such as the European Humanities University in Minsk, New Bulgarian University, State University of Television and Film in St. Petersburg, or the Catholic University of Lublin.

Blurring and questioning the distinctions between image and language—“My films are derived primarily from literature, and are a kind of human speech. The idea of visual cinema has always raised my doubts” [1] — Zanussi has authored several books, including On editing an amateur film (1968) and Discourse on an amateur film (1978), as well as a series of columns in the magazine “Polityka” (2004).

Zanussi has taught at film schools in Łódź, London and Copenhagen, and has directed theater productions in Milan, Kraków, Basel, Rome, Kiev, Palermo, Syracuse, Novosibirsk, to name but a few.

Zanussi received a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art (New York) in 1987 and was featured in the Museum’s 50th anniversary tribute to the Lodz Film School in 1999. In 2011, MoMa hosted Krzysztof Zanussi Revisited, presenting Family Life (1971), Camouflage (1977), and The Constant Factor (1980) together with Revisited (2009)

[1] Film magazine, 1992 No. 17, as quoted at


Krzysztof Zanussi

Writing, Art and Illusion