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Director Barbara Sass dies aged 79

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 03.04.2015 08:45
Acclaimed director and screenwriter Barbara Sass has died at the age of 79.
Barbara Sass-Zdort Photo: TVP/PAP/Jan BogaczBarbara Sass-Zdort Photo: TVP/PAP/Jan Bogacz

Born in 1936 in the central city of Łódź, she stayed in the city to attend the Film School, following on to become an assistant to the likes of Wojciech Jerzy Has, Jerzy Skolimowski and Andrzej Wajda.

When she began to direct herself, she made the main characters of her films women, who on the surface were strong and independent, but in reality weak, lost and who often confronted the wrongs of the world; with varying consequences.

Among her films, Sass is perhaps most well known for Temptation, Girls from Nowolipki, Spider Women and Without Love.

Between 1982-86 she was the head of the directors’ group at the Association of Polish Filmmakers, and between 1991-94 taught at the Łódź Film School. She won a number of awards throughout her career, including two FIPRESCI prizes.

In an interview for the Rzeczpospolita daily, she once said: “Is directing a women’s occupation? That question winds me up just like the term ‘women’s cinema’. Being a director is a profession for which one pays a high price, and where the currency is senstivity, the way one depicts the world, the constant examining and critique of one’s person when one enters the public sphere – this all has nothing to do with sex.”

The last film Sass directed, after 12 years’ silence, was In the Name of the Devil in 2011, which is loosely based on a rebellion of nuns in the Bethany Family Congregation, who illegally occupied a convent in Kazimierz Dolny at the beginning of the 2000s. (jb)

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