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Born in 1939 in Warsaw, Zanussi studied physics at the University of Warsaw, then philosophy at the University of Krakow. Shortly after the age of twenty he began to make his first short films. One of them, Tramsaj do nieba (The Tram to Heaven), was noticed by Andrzej Munk who invited Zanussi to enrol in the Lódz Film Academy, from which he graduated in 1966 and where he later taught. In 1969 he made his debut feature-length film Struktura krysztalu (The Structure of Crystal); his most important films include Zycie rodzinne (Family Life, 1971, in Competition at Cannes), Illuminacja (The Illumination, 1973, Golden Leopard and Jury Prize at Locarno), Bilans kwartalny (A Woman’s Decision, 1975, winner of the OCIC award at the Berlin Film Festival), Spirala (Spiral, 1978) and Constans (The Constant Factor, 1980), both winners of the Ecumenical Prize of the Jury at Cannes). In 1981 he won the European David di Donatello. The same year, Out of Competition at the Venice Film Festival, he presented From a Far Country dedicated to Pope John Paul II, whom the director met many times. In 1982, he returned to the Venice Film Festival with Imperativ (Imperative), which won the Special Jury Prize. Two years later he won the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 41st Venice Film Festival with Rok Spokojnego slonca (A Year of the Quiet Sun). Zanussi made more than thirty films for the big screen and television. His most recent works include two co-productions with Italy: Persona non grata, which screened in Competition at the Lido in 2005, and The Black Sun (2007). The director is currently completing his new film Inner Voice.
1966 – Smierc prowincjala (The Death of a Provincial) - 18. International Documentary Film Festival (director)
1980 – Kontrakt (The Contract) – Officina veneziana section (director)
1981 – From a Far Country – Cinema 81 Out of Competition (director)
1982 – Imperativ (Imperative) – In Competition (director)
1984 – Blaubart (Bluebeard)– Venezia TV (director)
1984 – Rok Spokojnego slonca (The Year of the Quiet Sun) – In Competition (director)
1985 – Paradigma – Venezia speciali 1 (director)
1997 – Our God’s Brother – Special Events (screenplay, director)
2001 – Lapac Zlodzieja - Andrzej Munk Retrospective (director)
2005 – Persona non grata – In Competition (screenplay, director)

1982 – Imperativ (Imperative) – Special Jury Prize
1984 – Rok Spokojnego slonca (A Year of the Quiet Sun) – Golden Lion for Best Film

1981 – Official Competition
1985 – Official Competition Venezia 42 (President)


70 Directors for Venice 70