Stuhr, Jerzy

   An accomplished actor, director, and scriptwriter, Stuhr became the emblematic Polish actor in the second part of the 1970s linked with the Cinema of Distrust. Known for his feel for everyday language, he created a panorama of characters ranging from uprooted careerists to the passionate and sincere ordinary characters in films directed by, among others, Feliks Falk (Top Dog, 1978, and Chance, 1979), Krzysztof Kieślowski (The Calm, 1976/1980, and Camera Buff, 1979), Juliusz Machulski (Sex Mission, 1984, and Deja Vu, 1989), and Andrzej Wajda (Rough Treatment, 1978). Later, although he appeared in several different films, his best-known roles were also in the works directed by Kieślowski Decalogue 10, 1988, and Three Colors: White, 1994), Falk (The Hero of the Year, 1987, a sequel to Top Dog), and Machulski (Kiler, 1997, and its sequel, Kiler 2, 1999). Stuhr is also a celebrated theatrical actor associated with the famous Teatr Stary (Old Theater) in Kraków. Between 1990 and 1996, and from 2002 until the present, he has been serving as the chancellor of the Kraków State Acting Academy (PWST).
   In 1994 Stuhr began his directorial career with The List of Adulteresses (aka List of Lovers, Spis cudzołożnic), the story of a middle-aged academic who recollects his old girlfriends and women from the past. The film was also scripted by Stuhr and had him in the leading role—a pattern that can be observed in his later films. Critics often see a continuation of Kieslowski's cinema in the films of Stuhr (who was one of his favorite actors). In Love Stories (Historie miłosne), the 1997 winner of the Festival of Polish Films, Stuhr presents four parallel stories with four different protagonists (all played by Stuhr). The film, dedicated to Kieślowski, resembles a morality play permeated with the very metaphysical ingredients that were so characteristic of Kieslowski's last films. In A Week in the Life of a Man (Tydzień z życia męż czyzny, 1999) Stuhr casts himself as a public prosecutor eager to prosecute others, yet in private life he is equally guilty. The black-and-white film The Big Animal (Duze zwierzę, 2000), based on a script written by Kieślowski in 1973, is a poetic tale about tolerance and personal freedom. It tells the story of a simple office worker who, despite problems with his neighbors and the authorities, takes care of a camel abandoned by a wandering circus. Tomorrow's Weather (Pogoda na jutro, 2003), Stuhr's satire on post-Communist reality, deals with a Solidarity activist who disappeared from everyday life and became a monk isolated from the outside world. His accidental return seventeen years later to a changed political reality and his attempts to make peace with his resentful family are the sources of this bitter comedy.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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