Zbigniew Kuźmiński

Zbigniew Kuźmiński was a film, television, and theatre director, and also a screenwriter. He was born on 4th November 1921, in Bydgoszcz, where he graduated from the Stanisław Staszic Merchant School, in 1937.

He started his career as an assistant director, for example during the filming of the war drama Ulica Graniczna/Border Street (1948) by Aleksander Ford, and for the film Dom na pustkowiu/The Lonely House by Jan Rybkowski. He was also the assistant director in the film adaptation of the novel Krzyżacy/Knights of the Teutonic Order , under the same title. His directing début was the documentary film Walczymy z pożarami (1950). Starting in 1961, he started making full length films, which led to creating the film Milczące ślady/Silent Clues.

The peak of Zbigniew Kuźmiński’s popularity was mainly the result of directing the film Nad Niemnem, a film adaptation of the novel written by Eliza Orzeszkowa, and Między ustami a brzegiem pucharu/Between the Cup and the Lip, which was a film adaptation of the novel by Maria Rodziewiczówna. In the latter of the two, you can see Gustaw Kron from Grudziądz. In 1971, he directed the war drama Agent nr 1/Top Agent, a story about Jerzy Szajnowicz-Iwanow, an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, who fought as a saboteur against the Germans, in Greece.

Zbigniew Kuźmiński also directed a number of TV series, including Republika Ostrowska (1985), which depicted the establishing of the Republic of Ostrów and the fate of young Poles, who worked for illegal organisations. In 1989, Zbigniew Kuźmiński filmed the historic TV mini-series Gdańsk 39, in which he portrayed the life of residents of Gdańsk preparing defences against the Germans, shortly before the outbreak of WWII.

In his films, the film director would frequently cast Leon Niemczyk, Jerzy Kamas, Barbara Brylska, Janusz Zakrzeński, and Jacek Chmielnik.

In the years 1957-1973, Zbigniew Kuźmiński also directed plays for Teatr Telewizji, and stage plays, for example for the Adam Mickiewicz Theatre in Częstochowa, the Drama Theatre in Gdynia, and Powszechny Theatre in Łódź.

The film director died on 12th March 20105, in Gdańsk.

Selected Filmography

  • 1948 – “Ulica Graniczna”/”Border Street”, dir. by Aleksander Ford
  • 1949 – “Dom na pustkowiu”/”The Lonely House”, dir by. Jan Rybkowski
  • 1950 – “Walczymy z pożarami”
  • 1954 – “Opowieść o ziemi odrodzonej”
  • 1960 – “Krzyżacy”/”Knights of the Teutonic Order”, dir. by Aleksander Ford
  • 1961 – “Milczące ślady”/”Silent Clues”
  • 1963 – “Mój drugi ożenek”
  • 1964 – “Banda”/”The Gang”
  • 1966 – “Zejście do piekła”/”The Descent to Hell”
  • 1968 – “Bariery dźwięku”
  • 1970 – “Raj na ziemi”
  • 1971 – “Agent nr 1″/”Top Agent”
  • 1978 – “Sto koni do stu brzegów”/”A Hundred Horses to a Hundred Shores”
  • 1980 – “Krab i Joanna”/”Crab and Joanna”
  • 1981 – “Okolice spokojnego morza”/”Environs of a Quiet Sea”
  • 1985 – “Republika Ostrowska” (TV series)
  • 1986 – “Nad Niemnem” (TV series)
  • 1987 – “Nad Niemnem”
  • 1986 – “Republika nadziei”
  • 1987 – “Między ustami a brzegiem pucharu”/”Between the Cup and the Lip”
  • 1988 – “Desperacja”/”Desperation”
  • 1989 – “Gdańsk 39” (TV series)

Selected Awards

Lubusz Film Summer – Audience Award for Agent nr 1/Top Agent ; 3rd Degree Award of the Ministry of National Defence for Raj na ziemi; Festiwal Filmowy Ludzie i Morze (“People and the Sea” Film Festival In TriCity) in Trójmiasto – the Gold Sail Award for Okolice spokojnego morza/Environs of a Quiet Sea; Polish Film Festival in Gdynia – Golden Thaler Award for Między ustami a brzegiem pucharu/Between the Cup and the Lip; Polish Film Festival in Gdynia – Golden Thaler Award for Nad Niemnem; Award of the President of the Cinematography Committee for film work in the category of full-feature films for Nad Niemnem; Award of the President of the Committee of Radio and Television “Polish Radio and Television” – group award for the film Nad Niemnem; The Decoration of Honor Meritorious for Polish Culture