Renowned film director Ryszard Bugajski dies aged 76

Ryszard Bugajski died at the age of 76 on Friday evening in Warsaw. Rafał Guz/PAP

An acclaimed Polish film director, screenwriter and writer, Ryszard Bugajski, who made Interrogation, dubbed "the most anti-communist film" died at the age of 76 on Friday evening in Warsaw after a long illness, his wife actress Maria Mamona told PAP on Saturday.

Bugajski graduated in directing from the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Lodz, central Poland, in 1973. In 1976, he joined the X Film Unit managed by Andrzej Wajda (an Academy Award-winning Polish film director), where he made the films A Woman and a Woman and Classes.

In 1981, Bugajski made the full-length feature film Interrogation. Its message, being incompatible with the political line of the Polish authorities after the imposition of martial law, was the direct cause of the X Unit being dissolved.

The official premiere of Interrogation did not take place until December 1989, after the political transformation in Poland. Persecuted by the communist authorities, Bugajski decided to emigrate to Canada in 1985, where he directed episodes of popular television series.

He returned to Poland in 1995. He made feature films, documentaries, television series and television theatre productions. Apart from the book version of Interrogation, reissued many times, he has published the novels I Confess in 1985 and Salt and Pepper in 2000, which continued the story of the protagonists of his most famous film, Interrogation.

In 2009, he made the film General Nil, based on the biography of the legendary general Emil Fieldorf, commander of the Home Army's Diversionary Directorate (Kedyw).

Bugajski received awards at film festivals, including the Golden Grapes in Lagow, the audience award and a special prize at the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia, and the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival (all were for Interrogation). In 1990 'Film' magazine chose this production as the best Polish film of 1989.

In 2008, he was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for "outstanding merits for democratic transformation in Poland," as well as for "achievements in the professional and social work undertaken for the country." In the same year he received the Gold Medal of Merit for Culture Gloria Artis.