Polish and Eastern European cinematography is known all around the world. Several movie directors from Eastern Europe gained fame in Hollywood. Two most known are probably Milos Forman, who came from Czechoslovakia to Hollywood and Polish director Roman Polanski.
Milos Forman started his career in Czechoslovakia. In early sixties, after Khrushchev's speech denouncing Stalin, several very interesting movies were made in communistic Czechoslovakia, one of the contributors was of course Forman. But Forman had fled to Paris in 1968 when his native Czechoslovakia was invaded. After he became an American citizen in 1977, he asked several times for a visa, but the Czech government always turned him down. So, he didn't hope that I would ever see the country again. He was able to come back to shot Amadeus there in Prague. Forman is amazing in the way that he was able to touch a very core of American life in some of his movies (Hair, Ragtime etc) - although he did not even grow up here. His most famous films are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Hair and Amadeus.
Roman Polanski recently won Oscar (2002) for his recent film Pianist. Polanski is a legend, but his life was not a fairy story and if filmed - it would remind one of his own dark story movies. He remains a fugitive from US law. Both, Polanski and Forman are of Jewish origin. Polanski lives now in France. We will write a separate article about a life and films. Read press review "The Pianist's Story" - An Evening With Andrzej Szpilman.
Andrzej Wajda, renowned Polish director did not try to do a career in Hollywood, is spite of that he was awarded with honorary Oscar for his cinematography in 2000 for a lifetime achievement. Wajda's films were not only popular in Poland but also all through the Europe also the Western Europe. His films were awarded in several festivals - in Cannes, Venice etc. It is almost a shame that American public almost does not know his movies. Wajda did not omit any difficult topics, especially from recent Polish and European history. He touched some very painful aspects of communism and was able to touch some politically difficult problems still during communistic administration. Such an example is his film entitled: The Man of Marble about a communistic labor hero of 50s. We were talking about labor readers in an interesting article entitled The Work Ethics in Poland: Work Heroes and Party Actions .But this movie also touched the very core of the problems of 70s when it was done.
I will write more about Wajda's cinematography in the future.