Saniewski, Wiesław

(1948-)
   Writer, director, and producer Wiesław Saniewski has not won many critical fans in Poland, although his films have been consistently well received and awarded abroad, especially in the United States. After studying art history, journalism, and mathematics at the University of Wrocław, Sanie-wski started his career as a film critic (he is the author of three books of film criticism). After graduating from the screenwriting department of the Łódź Film School in 1980, he directed his first feature film, The Freelancer (Wolny strzelec, 1981), which was released in 1988. In Poland he is best known for his 1985 film Custody (Nadzór), a dark and powerful prison film set in a women's penitentiary. The film traces the life of Klara (Ewa Błaszczyk), who is arrested at her wedding in 1967, accused of misappropriating money, and sentenced to life in prison, which is then changed to twenty-five years. The film focuses on the protagonist's struggles for dignity and also deals with the issue of manipulation and the psychology of female prisoners. With the exception of the psychological drama The Touched (Dotknięci, 1988), labeled by some critics as the Polish version of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, other films by Saniewski were not successful locally. Films such as The Stranger Must Fly (Obcy musi fruwać, 1993) and The Rainy Soldier (Deszczowy żołnierz, 1996) received awards at film festivals in Phoenix, Charleston, and Houston, among others, yet were ignored by local film audiences and critics.
   Other films: The Season of Dead Birds (aka The Stalking Season, Sezon na bazanty, 1986), Legal Justice (Bezmiar sprawiedliwości, 2006).
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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