Greatest Eastern European Directors

by z_ingle | created - 06 Feb 2014 | updated - 06 Feb 2014 | Public

These are the top directors from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and the former countries of Yugoslavia.

1. Jan Svankmajer

Director | Otesánek

After studying at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, Jan Svankmajer started working as a theatre director, chiefly in association with the Theatre of Masks and the Black Theatre. He first experimented with film-making after ...

2. Roman Polanski

Director | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

3. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Writer | Trois couleurs: Bleu

Krzysztof Kieslowski graduated from Lódz Film School in 1969, and became a documentary, TV and feature film director and scriptwriter. Before making his first film for TV, Przejscie podziemne (1974) (The Underground Passage), he made a number of short documentaries. His next TV title, Personnel (...

4. Milos Forman

Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...

5. István Szabó

Director | Sunshine

Istvan Svabo was the first Hungarian director to win an Oscar (Although a Hungarian-American director, Michael Curtiz [Mihaly Kertesz], also won an Oscar previously for directing Casablanca). He received the award for his 1981 movie Mephisto. In January 2006, it became public that he had been an ...

6. Jirí Menzel

Director | Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále

Jirí Menzel was born on February 23, 1938 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is an actor and director, known for I Served the King of England (2006), Larks on a String (1990) and Shortcuts (1981). He has been married to Olga Menzelová-Kelymanová since 2004.

7. Andrzej Wajda

Director | Katyn

Andrzej Wajda is an Academy Award-wining director. He is the most prominent filmmaker in Poland known for The Promised Land (1975), Man of Iron (1981), and Katyn (2007).

He was Born on March 6, 1926, in Suwalki, Poland. His mother, Aniela Wajda, was a teacher at a Ukrainian school. His father, Jakub...

8. Béla Tarr

Producer | Werckmeister harmóniák

Béla Tarr was born on July 21, 1955 in Pécs, Hungary. He is a producer and director, known for Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), The Turin Horse (2011) and Damnation (1988). He is married to Ágnes Hranitzky.

9. Agnieszka Holland

Director | Pokot

Agnieszka Holland was born 28 of November 1948 in Warsaw but went to Czechoslovakia to study film directing at FAMU in Prague. She began her film career working in Poland with Krzysztof Zanussi as assistant director, and Andrzej Wajda as her mentor. She wrote several scripts with Wajda before ...

10. Dusan Makavejev

Director | W.R. - Misterije organizma

Dusan Makavejev is the premier figure in Yugoslavian film history; his films are deeply rooted in his nation's painful postwar experiences and draw on important Yugoslavian cinematic and cultural models. Makavejev's work has violated many political and sexual taboos and invited censorship in dozens...

11. Jirí Trnka

Director | Bajaja

A graduate of Prague's School of Arts and Crafts, in 1936 he created a puppet theater, which was disbanded after the outbreak of WWII. During the war he designed stage sets and illustrated children's books. In 1945 he set up an animation unit with several collaborators at the Prague film studio; ...

12. Márta Mészáros

Director | Örökbefogadás

Márta Mészáros was born on September 19, 1931 in Budapest, Hungary. She is a director and writer, known for Adoption (1975), Diary for My Children (1984) and The Last Report on Anna (2009). She was previously married to Miklós Jancsó and Laszlo Karda.

13. Ján Kadár

Director | Obchod na korze

After moving to the United States, he became a professor of film direction at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California.

14. Jerzy Skolimowski

Actor | The Avengers

Born in Lódz, Poland, in 1938. Director, playwright, scriptwriter, and actor. Graduated in ethnology, literature and history from Warsaw University in 1959. Graduated from Lódz Film Academy in directing in 1962. Feature debut: _Identification Marks - None_ (Rysopis, 1964, scr., dir, act.), awarded ...

15. Krzysztof Zanussi

Director | Zycie jako smiertelna choroba przenoszona droga plciowa

Born in 1939 in Warsaw, Poland. Documentary and feature film director. Studied physics at Warsaw University and philosophy at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Graduated from Lodz Film Academy in 1966. Amateur film maker. His school diploma film 'Death of a Provincial' (The Death of a Provincial (...

16. Walerian Borowczyk

Director | Docteur Jekyll et les femmes

Born in Kwilcz, Poland, Walerian Borowczyk trained as a painter and lithographer, winning Poland's National Prize in 1953. He began his film career as a film poster designer, then started making short animated films in the late 1950s. Moving to France in the early 1960s, he gained a reputation as a...

17. Miklós Jancsó

Director | Csillagosok, katonák

Miklos Jancsó was born in 1921 in Vac, Hungary. His mother Angela Poparada was Romanian and his father Sandor Jancsó Hungarian. Jancsó received a degree in Law from the University of Cluj-Napoca in 1944. After fighting in WWII and a brief period as a POW, he chose to join the Film and Theater ...

18. Jaromil Jires

Director | Zert

Jaromil Jires was born on December 10, 1935 in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. He was a director and writer, known for The Joke (1969), And Give My Love to the Swallows (1972) and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970). He died on October 26, 2001 in Prague, Czech Republic.

19. Vera Chytilová

Director | Dedictví aneb Kurvahosigutntag

Vera Chytilová was born on February 2, 1929, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). She studied philosophy and architecture in Brno for two years, then worked as a technical draftsman, a designer, a fashion model, a photo re-toucher, then worked as a clapper girl for Barrandov Film ...

20. Emir Kusturica

Director | Underground

A Serbian film director. Born in 1954 in Sarajevo. Graduated in film directing at the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague in 1978. During his studies, he was awarded several times for his short movies including Guernica (1978), which took first prize at the Student's Film ...

21. Karel Zeman

Writer | Baron Prásil

Karel Zeman was born on November 3, 1910 in Ostromer u Nové Paky, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He was a writer and director, known for The Outrageous Baron Munchausen (1962), Bláznova kronika (1964) and The Deadly Invention (1958). He died on April 5, 1989 in Prague, Czech Republic.

22. Ivan Passer

Director | Intimní osvetlení

Ivan Passer was born on July 10, 1933 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He is a director and writer, known for Intimate Lighting (1965), A Boring Afternoon (1964) and Haunted Summer (1988).

23. Aleksandar Petrovic

Director | Skupljaci perja

One of the most acclaimed and successful Yugoslav directors, born in 1929. in Paris. Studied film directing at the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague (1947/48). His studies remained unfinished due to the political aggravation between Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia at the time ...

24. Andrzej Munk

Director | Pasazerka

Andrzej Munk was born on October 16, 1920 in Kraków, Malopolskie, Poland. He was a director and writer, known for Passenger (1963), Eroica (1958) and Blekitny krzyz (1955). He died on September 20, 1961 in Lowicz, Lódzkie, Poland.

25. Frantisek Vlácil

Director | Marketa Lazarová

Frantisek Vlácil was born on February 19, 1924 in Cesky Tesin, Moravian-Silesian, Czech Republic. He was a director and writer, known for Marketa Lazarová (1967), Adelheid (1970) and Shadows of a Hot Summer (1978). He died on January 28, 1999 in Prague, Czech Republic.

26. Karel Kachyna

Director | Ucho

Karel Kachyna was born on May 1, 1924 in Vyskov, Czechoslovakia. He was a director and writer, known for The Ear (1970), The Hope (1964) and The High Wall (1964). He was married to Alena Mihulová. He died on March 12, 2004 in Prague, Czech Republic.

27. Jirí Weiss

Director | Vlcí jáma

Jirí Weiss was born on March 29, 1913 in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He was a director and writer, known for Vlcí jáma (1958), Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965) and Martha et moi (1990). He was married to Katerina Weiss. He died on April 9, 2004 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

28. Jan Nemec

Director | Toyen

Jan Nemec was born on July 12, 1936 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was a director and writer, known for Toyen (2005), Diamonds of the Night (1964) and Martyrs of Love (1967). He was married to Iva Ruszeláková, Veronica Baumann, Marta Kubisová and Ester Krumbachová. He died on March 18, 2016 in ...

29. Wojciech Has

Director | Pozegnania

Born in Kraków, Poland, in 1925. Feature film director. Graduated in 1946 from Cracow Film Institute, also studied painting. From 1947 to 1957 made a number of documentary shorts and educational films. Feature film debut: _The Noose_ (Petla, 1958, co-scr.). Other films: _Farewells_ (Pozegnania, ...

30. Andrzej Zulawski

Writer | Possession

Born in Lvov, Ukraine; then he moved with his father Miroslaw Zulawski to Czechoslovakia and later to Poland. In the late 1950s, he studied cinema in France. In the 1960s, he was an assistant of the famous Polish film director Andrzej Wajda. His feature debut The Third Part of the Night (1971) was ...

31. Lucian Pintilie

Director | Terminus paradis

Lucian Pintilie was born on November 9, 1933 in Tarutino, Bessarabia, Romania. He was a director and writer, known for Next Stop Paradise (1998), Duminica la ora 6 (1966) and Too Late (1996). He was married to Clody Bertola. He died on May 16, 2018 in Bucharest, Romania.

32. Goran Markovic

Director | Sabirni centar

The son of actors Rade Markovic and Olivera Markovic, between 1965 and 1970 he studied film directing in Prague and then started working for television, directing documentaries and about fifty tv movies. His first theatrical feature was the critically acclaimed and financially successful Special ...



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