Krystyna Gryczełowska

* 24.06.1931 (Vilnius) 03.09. 2009 (Lodz) Poland
Fields of activity: screenwriter and film director, documentary
Author: Elżbieta Brandeburg, Ewa Roślik

 „I make such documents, which help not only to understand the world, but to see what needs to be corrected and changed”.

Why I consider this woman to be an important person?

Krystyna Gryczełowska belonged to the group of filmmakers who created the Polish Documentary School.

She created her own vision of Poland in the sixties, seventies and eighties.

She believed that a documentary film can make a positive impact on the surrounding reality.


Krystyna Gryczełowska was a graduate of the screenwriting department of the Moscow State Institute of Cinematography of the Russian Federation, named SA Gerasimov (VGIK). She received her diploma in 1955. After returning to Poland she was worked with the Warsaw Documentary Film Studio. Her debut in document was “Expedition to Devil's Island” (1955), but her major film was “Siedliszcze“(1960).
Krystyna Gryczełowska was included among the artists who created the Polish School of the Documentary in the sixties. In the spring of 1956, in the Warsaw Documentary Film Studio appeared a group of artists who tried to change the nature of the films, which initially were the tool of the propaganda apparatus. They managed to do this after October 1956 and to show on the screen less hypocritical image of the Polish reality, and to present the cases which were ignored so far. Among the unspoken topics were: maladjustment of young people, the degeneration of life in the province, lack of reaction by the government to the real social problems. Films by Gryczełowska were read by the critics as intervention films. She wanted to help those to whom she came with the camera.

In the documentary films of this period there prevailed, as in prose, little realism. They wanted to bring closer the figure of the simple man, show the meaning of his work and existence.

K. Gryczełowska in her films showed two types of heroes.
Some - lifelong optimists, who enjoy life as the members of the pensioner club from the movie “Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays” ( 1965), and others - people tired of living , unfulfilled. A good example is the worker from the film “24 hours of Jadwiga L.”. (1967).

Among the issues which interested Gryczełowska initially dominated the rural themes.
She showed the reality of the Polish countryside. In the scenery of the Polish province she located the film “His name is Błażej Rejdak” (1968). There she presented important social phenomenon - the transformation of peasants into big industry workers.

Later K. Gryczełowska moved from the intervention coverage to create a portrait of a hero. An important item of this trend was the film “Our friends from Lodz” (1971). It was a portrait of three women working in the textile industry in Lodz, in the factory called “Marchlewski, who apart from difficult life – had also their dreams. Nonetheless they remained passive. They did not fight to change the situation in which they found themselves. They seemed to be reconciled to their fate. Looking at the world from the perspective of these women turned out to be important in this film. The drama of the film was simple - it presented dreams of women, their lives and the increasing disappointment.
The film was made after the events of December 1971 when the strike of Lodz’s women-workers contributed to the withdrawal by Edward Gierek unfavorable price increases, which Władysław Gomułka wanted to introduce.

Initially it was to be intervention film, but political events gave it a deeper dimension.
Krystyna Gryczełowska never dreamed of completing a feature film. She thought that the profession of a documentary director - was very interesting and ample, and that was absolutely enough for her.

Reflections about her films could be conclude by saying: “I believe that each of us is sometimes needs moment of reflection, reverie over the world, the reality that surrounds us. Good, profound documentary film allows us to experience such great and wonderful moments in life, noticing something new, what was hidden so far from our sight, until someone pointed it out to us” ("Film" 22/1975 )
Gryczełowska won numerous of individual awards during Film Festivals, among others, in Krakow and in Oberhausen. Her films: “90 days a year” and “Our friends from Lodz” were awarded the Bronze Hobby Horse.
Krystyna Gryczełowska died on September the 3rd 2009 in Lodz and she was buried at the cemetery of Ogrodowa Street.

Bibliography: (available 5.03.2014 )