Rybkowski, Jan

(1912-1987)
   Film director, set designer, head of the film unit Rytm (1955-1968), and teacher at the Łódź Film School. His debut, the occupation drama House in the Wilderness (Dom na pustkowiu, 1949), was mutilated by the censor. It was followed by a biopic about the nineteenth-century Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko, called Warsaw Premiere (Warszawska premiera, 1951), and a group of socialist realist films including First Days (Pierwsze dni, 1951) and The Bus Leaves at 6:20 (Autobus odjezdza 6.20, 1954). Rybkowski was more successful with a socialist realist comedy, A Matter to Settle (Sprawa do załatwienia, 1953, codirected with Jan Fethke), and another film about the war, the critically underestimated The Hours of Hope (Godziny nadziei, 1955). The war also features prominently in his later films, for example in Tonight the City Will Die (Dziś w nocy umrze miasto, 1961), about the annihilation of Dresden; Ascension Day (Wniebowstąpienie, 1969), a Holocaust narrative; and When Love Was a Crime (Kiedy miłość była zbrodnią, 1968), a Polish and West German coproduc-tion about forbidden love.
   The prolific Rybkowski worked within a variety of genres. He made a number of successful comedies, including a series of films starring Tadeusz Fijewski, beginning with The Hat of Mr. Anatol (Kapelusz pana Anatola, 1957). He also directed two versions of Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz's prewar satirical novel Nikodem Dyzma (1956), starring Adolf Dymsza, and a well-liked television series, The Career of Nikodem Dyzma (Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy, 1980), with a memorable performance by Roman Wilhemi. Adaptations of the Polish literary canon are among the most important films in Rybkowski's career, including Peasants (Chłopi, 1973, also a television series in 1972), based on the Polish Nobel laureate Władysław Stanisław Reymont's epic novel.
   Other films: Mr. Anatol Seeks a Million (Pan Anatol szuka miliona, 1958), The Inspection of Mr. Anatol (Inspekcja pana Anatola, 1959), The Last Gunshot (Ostatni strzał, 1959), Meeting at the "Bajka" Cafe (Spotkanie w "Bajce," 1962), Truly Yesterday (Naprawdę wczoraj, 1963), Way of Life (Sposób bycia, 1966), Polish Album (Album polski, 1970), The Nest (Gniazdo, 1974), The Dulski Family (Dulscy, 1975), The Line (Granica, 1978), Marynia (1983).
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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