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introduction                     personae                     thanks

It seems to me that most of graduates of secondary schools are not ready to choose the subject of their studies independently. An 18-year old having an A-level, has a certificate of as-if-maturity. Most often the person in question is not mature, and rather a halfwit, and yet she or he is to decide about her or his life, is to take the decision of more consequence than that of marrying, raising a family – the decision of choosing one’s profession. The maniacs and people of passion are generally better equipped in this respect as are geniuses, child prodigies or other deviants, all those who show their talents at an early stage. It is easy to say what their calling is. This happens most in music, because the musical ear can be discerned very early and in most unexpected places, environments and sometimes among the very primitive.

However, now and then it is the other way round. I went to study architecture because my parents persuaded me into it since they did not approve of my childhood passion for film. And no wonder. In those times film was regarded as only slightly less vulgar than circus. Also, nothing indicated that it would become anything better. To the contrary, it was feared that it would become the disseminator of the regime propaganda and my parents, epitomising the “reactionary intelligentsia”, could not allow it. They convinced me that architects had much better prospects considering the need of re-building Poland after the ravages of war and thus I went to the entry exam. I feel very grateful to my parents: I graduated from architecture at the Krakow Technical University with distinction, supervised by professor Juliusz Żórawski, and although he made an offer of employing me in his Chair, I went to study film in Łódź. It was not easy to be accepted there but I tricked my way in. My diploma work was… a design of a feature film production studio. I consulted the project with professor Stanisław Wohl, the lecturer at the National Film, Television and Theater School (PWSF). It seems that he was so proud of the design into which he contributed with his great knowledge of film technology that he also backed me up in gaining access to the world of film-makers.

I was born in Lwow 79 years ago, graduated 50 years ago from architecture in Krakow and finished film school 45 years ago. In those years I made circa 80 films of all sorts; TV series and TV set productions and 14 feature films, to which I devoted most of my attention. I also wrote scripts and dialogues for most of my films and published 4 books. I consider Zaklęte Rewiry (The Enchanted Stations, 1975) as my best film although CK Dezerterzy (Imperial and Royal Deserters, 1985) turned out to be the greatest hit. I think that the least known of my films Lekcja Martwego Języka (Lesson of a Dead Language, 1979) is perhaps the most beautiful of all. The TV series Królowa Bona (Queen Bona, 1980) and Siedlisko (The Family Home, 1998) have been shown many times. My latest work has been the film and the book Mała matura 1947 (GCSE 1947; A special Award of the Jury of the Polish Feature Fim Festival, Gdynia 2010). If anyone is interested to learn more about me please visit:

At the moment I am a retired professor of the National Television, Film and Theatre School in Łódź with a number of my former students being the top Polish film directors – unfortunately, of the older generation already. I have always praised the school to my students saying that the fact that I finished it was the best recommendation. However, I have always added that I had to give credit to the studying of architecture for being trained in the principles of composition, harmony, logic and above all structure; because a film like a house needs to have a solid foundation, clear structure, and it needs to be useful – but also beautiful.

Janusz Majewski
Warsaw, July 2010

photo by Marcin Makowski/MakuFly

Copyright by Konrad Glos, Rafal Zub 2010