Paweł Pawlikowski

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Paweł Pawlikowski
Paweł Pawlikowski.tif
Pawlikowski in 2018
Paweł Aleksander Pawlikowski

(1957-09-15) 15 September 1957 (age 63)
Warsaw, Poland
Alma materOxford University
(died 2006)

(m. 2017)
WebsiteOfficial Website

Paweł Aleksander Pawlikowski (Polish: [ˈpavɛw alɛˈksandɛr pavliˈkɔfskʲi]; born 15 September 1957) is a Polish filmmaker, who has lived and worked most of his life in the United Kingdom. He garnered early praise for a string of 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 into the 2010s with Ida (2013), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Cold War (2018), for which Pawlikowski won the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, while the film received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Early life[]

Pawlikowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a father who was a doctor and a mother who started as a ballet dancer and later became an English literature professor at the University of Warsaw.[1] In his late teens, he learned that his paternal grandmother was Jewish and had died in Auschwitz.[2][3] 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.[4]


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 . In 2001 he wrote and directed Last Resort with 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 with Emily Blunt and Natalie Press, which won a BAFTA, the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film and many other awards.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] Ida won the 2015 Academy Award for Foreign Language Film on 23 February 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 International Film Festival.

In 2017, Pawlikowski adapted Emmanuel Carrère's biographical novel Limonov (2011), based on the life of Eduard Limonov, into a screenplay.[11] Pawlikowski planned to direct the film adaptation but revealed in 2020 that he lost interest in the character and abandoned plans to direct.[12]

His most recent film, Cold War earned him the Best Director Award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It also won five awards at the 2018 European Film Awards including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress Awards. In 2019, he was announced as one of the members of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.[13]

Personal life[]

Pawlikowski grew up a Catholic and considers himself one up to this day, but says that he finds the Catholic Church in Great Britain to be easier to grow in faith in than that in Poland.[2][3]

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. In addition to his native Polish, he speaks six languages including German and Russian.[citation needed]

Pawlikowski's first wife, who was Russian, developed a serious illness in 2006 and died several months later.[14][15] 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.[14] At the end of 2017, he married Polish model and actress Małgosia Bela.[16]


Year Title Credited as Notes
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[]

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 Best Director #10
2019 39th London Film Critics' Circle Awards Best Director Cold War Nominated [17]

Other distinctions

Pawlikowski was made Honorary Associate of London Film School. In 2019, he was awarded the title of an honorary citizen of Warsaw.[18]

See also[]


  1. ^ Hoberman, J. (30 April 2014). "If You Could Lick My Heart It Would Poison You". Table. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "Kto Ty jesteś? Paweł Pawlikowski o filmie "Ida"" (in Polish). 18 October 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b Bloom, Livia (5 May 2014). "Courage of Conviction: A Conversation with Ida Director Pawel Pawlikowski". Filmmaker. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Pawel Pawlikowski | Biography, Movies, & Facts".
  5. ^ Screenonline. Accessed 2014-05-26. The title of Erofeev's novel (or prose poem) has been variously translated, but Pawlikowski's documentary is in English and is titled in English.
  6. ^ Pawlikowski, Pawel. "Filmography". Pawel Pawlikowski – Writer and Director. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  7. ^ "A Quick Chat With Pawel Pawlikowski". Archived from the original on 6 March 2009.
  8. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (20 September 2007). "Pawel Pawlikowski takes on Stalin". Variety. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas top 'Women' – Thesps to star in indie thriller based on novel". Variety.
  10. ^ "Master and Pupil honoured by LFF on the same night". . 20 October 2013.
  11. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (29 December 2017). "Pawel Pawlikowski, Director of Oscar-Winning 'Ida,' to Helm 'Limonov' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Paweł Pawlikowski nie wyreżyseruje "Limonova"". 15 May 2020. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Exciting Jury Announced For Cannes Film Festival". Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  14. ^ Jump up to: a b "Pawel Pawlikowski: 'I was a lost guy in a weird city'". The Guardian. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  15. ^ Robey, Tim (23 February 2015). "Pawel Pawlikowski on Oscar winner Ida". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  16. ^ Ellison, Jo (15 February 2020). "Malgosia Bela in London – and in Love". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  17. ^ "London Critics Name Roma as Film of the Year". 20 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Sanitariuszka, powstaniec, reżyser. Nowi honorowi obywatele Warszawy". Retrieved 15 July 2020.

External links[]

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