Polish Director Andrzej Zulawski Dies at 75

Cosmos Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Locarno International Film Festival

Cosmos Still - H 2015

The controversial helmer, who had a son with French actress Sophie Marceau, died after long struggle with cancer.

Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, who spent much of his career working in France after falling afoul with Communist authorities at home, has died. He was 75.

The director died after a long struggle with cancer, according to the Polish Filmmakers Association.

Known for his highly artistic, controversial and often very violent films, Zulawski was noted for "rediscovering" actresses including Romy Schneider, Isabelle Adjani and Sophie Marceau, who gave some of their best performances in his films.

The Polish Film Institute told The Hollywood Reporter that "unfortunately" it could confirm the news of the helmer's death.

Zulawski's son Xawery, also a film director, noted how seriously ill his father was in a Facebook post late Tuesday, writing he was "terminally ill with cancer and undergoing intensive therapy in hospital in Poland," news agency AFP reported.

Talking to Polish broadcaster Polsat, PFA head Jacek Bromski said Zulawski was "a very original artist, sometimes controversial, but always true to himself."

The filmmaker won many awards during his long career, most recently best director honors at Locarno last year for Cosmos.

Zulawski made his first two films in his native Poland — his 1971 debut The Third Part of the Night and The Devil the following year — but left for France after authorities banned the latter pic. His later films include Possession (1981) and Fidelity (2000).

Incidentally, before Zulawski's death, Kino Lorber said Tuesday that it had acquired all North American rights to Cosmos, with its U.S. premiere set as part of the Film Comment Selects series, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which opened Wednesday in New York. The event also includes a feature sidebar, "Spotlight on Andrzej Zulawski," with screenings of The Devil, On the Silver Globe and The Third Part of the Night.

Zulawski is survived by three children, including a son with Marceau, from whom he separated in 2001.