Born on 27 June 1941, Krzysztof Kieślowski was an influential Polish film director and screenwriter known internationally for The Decalogue (1989), The Double Life of Véronique (1991), and The Three Colors Trilogy (1993–1994). Kieślowski received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (1988), FIPRESCI Prize (1988, 1991), and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (1991); the Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize (1989), Golden Lion (1993), and OCIC Award (1993); and the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear (1994). In 1995, he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writing. In 2002, Kieślowski was listed at number two on the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound Top Ten Directors list of modern times.
Kieślowski was born in Warsaw and grew up in several small towns. Without any career goals, he entered the College for Theatre Technicians in Warsaw in 1957 because it was run by a relative. He decided to become a theatre director, but at the time one had to already have at least a bachelor's degree to apply for the theatre school, so he chose to study film at an intermediate step. Leaving college, Kieślowski applied to the Lodz Film School, the famed Polish film school which also has Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda among its alumni. He was rejected twice, before being accepted on his third attempt.
He attended from 1964 to 1968, during a period in which the government allowed a relatively high degree of artistic freedom at the school. Kieślowski quickly lost his interest in theatre and decided to make documentary films. Kieślowski also married his lifelong love, Maria (Marysia) Cautillo, during his final year in school. He retired from film-making with a public announcement after the premiere of his last film Red at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Kieślowski remains one of Europe's most influential directors, his works included in the study of film classes at universities throughout the world. The 1993 book 'Kieślowski' describes his life and work in his own words, based on interviews by Danusia Stok. He is also the subject of a biographical film, Krzysztof Kieślowski: I'm So-So (1995), directed by Krzysztof Wierzbicki.
In an interview given at Oxford University, Kieślowski said, “It comes from a deep-rooted conviction that if there is anything worthwhile doing for the sake of culture, then it is touching on subject matters and situations which link people, and not those that divide people. There are too many things in the world which divide people, such as religion, politics, history, and nationalism. If culture is capable of anything, then it is finding that which unites us all. And there are so many things which unite people. It doesn't matter who you are or who I am, if your tooth aches or mine, it's still the same pain. Feelings are what link people together, because the word 'love' has the same meaning for everybody. Or 'fear', or 'suffering'. We all fear the same way and the same things. And we all love in the same way. That's why I tell about these things, because in all other things I immediately find division”.