The son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, Wojciech Jerzy Has was born in Kraków in 1925. During the Second World War, he studied at a business school while taking secret classes at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts. From an early age, Has was inspired by Surrealism. He would read André Breton’s famous Surrealist Manifesto as well as the poetry of Paul Éluard and Louis Aragon. Visually, the paintings of Max Ernst and Salvador Dali became lifelong touchstones. His interest in cinema led him to pursue a one year course in Film; after which, he began making educational and documentary films at the Warsaw Documentary Film Studio.
His first feature, The Noose (1958), chronicled a day in the life of an alcoholic. Unlike Has’ later films, The Noose was limited in action to the character’s immediate surroundings, focused solely on his self-destructive behavior. While lacking the occult-driven style which he would pioneer with his period films, the film’s focus on the character’s… read more