Nationality: Polish. Born: Kawal, 5 November 1939. Family: Married the director Marta Mészáros. Education: Attended the School of Theatre and Film, Kraków. Career: 1965—film debut in Ashes; in TV series Dyrektorzy.
Films as Actor:
Popioł (Ashes) (Wajda)
Bariera (Barrier) (Skolimowski) (as He)
Password: Korn (Podgórski)
Pan Wołodyjowski (Colonel Wolodyjowski) (Hoffman) (as Ketling)
Dziura w ziemi (A Hole in the Ground) (Kondratiuk)
Doktor Eva (Żułlawski—for TV)
Życie rodzinne (Family Life) (Zanussi); The Third Part of the Night (Zulawski)
Anatomy of Love (Zaluski); Skorpion, panna, i lucznik (Scorpio, Virgo, and Sagittarius) (Kondratiuk); Sanatorium pod klepsydra (The Hour-Glass Sanatorium) (Has); A Wasted Night (Majewski—for TV)
Story in Scarlet (Kluba)
Hour after Hour (Zaluski)
Kilenc hónap (Nine Months) (Mészáros); Red Thorns (Dziedzina)
Ok ketten (The Two of Them; Two Women) (Mészáros)
Olyan, mint otthon (Just Like at Home) (Mészáros) (as Andras Novak); Spirála (The Spiral) (Zanussi); Moloch (Szulkin)
Útkösben (On the Move) (Mészáros) (+ co-sc)
Orökseg (The Heiresses) (Mészáros); W. Bialy dzie in(In Broad Daylight) (Zebrowski); Golem (Szulkin)
Anya és leánya (Mother and Daughter) (Mészáros); Spokojne lata (Kotkowski)
Napló gyermekeimnek (Diary for My Children) (Mészáros) (as Janos/Juli's father); Kettevalt Mennyezet (Pal Gabor)
Wielki Szu (The Great Szu) (Chęciński); Délibábok országa (The Land of Mirages) (Mészáros)
O-bi, O-bi—Koniec cywilizacji (O-bi, O-bi—The End of Civilization; Ga, Ga—chwala bohaterom) (Szulkin); Hulyeseg nem Akadaly (Xantus) (as Dr. Korosi)
Biala Wizytowka (Bajon); Zygfryd (Siegfried) (Domalik) (as Waldo, circus owner)
Magnat (The Magnate) (Bajon) (as Ksiaze Hans von Teuss); Napló szerelmeimnek (Diary for My Loves) (Mészáros) (as Janos)
Schodami w Gore, Schodami w Dol (Upstairs, Downstairs) (Domalik); Piroska és a farkas (Bye-Bye Red Riding Hood) (Mészáros) (as ornithologist)
Notater om Korlighedon (Leth); Lawa
Napló apamanak, anyammnak (Diary for My Father and Mother) (Mészáros) (as Janos); Potyautasok (as prison boss)
Konyortelen Idol (Sara)
The Great Post Office Robbery (as Bogdan, the cop); A Magzat (Fetus) (Mészáros); Magneto (Kolski) (as Zanik)
Siódmy pokój (The Seventh Room) (Mészáros) (as Heller); Mlode Wilki (Zamojda)
Dzieci I ryby (Bromski); Deszczowy zolnierz (Saniewski) (as Jan Szymanski);
Sztos (Olaf Linde Lubaszenko); Mlode Wilki ½ (Zamojda)
Historia kina w Papielawach (History of Cinema in Popielawach) (Jan Jakub Kolski)
On NOWICKI: articles—
Ecran (Paris), September 1979.
Film a Doba (Prague), January 1982.
Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), November 1990.
Mazierska, B., "Superwizja," in Filmowy Serwis Prasowy, vol. 39, no. 8/9, 1993.
Lubelski, Tadeusz, "Ten slawny uœmiech," in Kino (Warsaw), November 1996.
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Jan Nowicki first won wide critical acclaim for his portrayal of a member of the "lost generation" in Jerzy Skolimowski's Bariera. He was labeled the "Polish James Dean" and considered heir to the legacy of Zbigniew Cybulski. In subsequent roles, however, Nowicki demonstrated a range of characterizations that denied this early attempt at classification and cut against the grain of the young Polish film heroes of the time. In Dziura w ziemi he played a well-adjusted, energetic young man who charms people with his love of life. In Życie rodzinne he portrayed a cynical and introspective man plagued by a series of profound doubts. In Spirála his portrait of a man hopelessly awaiting an unheroic and undignified death was accomplished with an economy of gesture and an immobile face in which only the eyes showed animation. After this part, which was difficult for the audience, demanding almost the limit of what a spectator can bear, a number of others followed. It seems there is no character that Nowicki could not play. In Wielki Szu he acts with restraint the part of a confidence trickster whose dubious fame is nearing its bitter end. In three of Piotr Szulkin's films he adjusted to a future fantasy world. Finally, the figure of a powerful count of a Polish-German house in Filip Bajon's Magnat represents the culmination of his acting career. Here Nowicki portrays a man who over the course of dozens of years bears witness both to the gradual disappearance of old values and to growing fascism in Europe and in his own family.
A special chapter in Nowicki's career has been his involvement in several Hungarian films directed by Marta Mészarós, his wife. In Útkösben he portrays an actor whose obsession is his profession. The role is frequently seen as a personal statement because of the similarity between Nowicki and the character and the fact that Nowicki collaborated on the screenplay.
Nowicki's list of film credits is rich and without interruption. He creates his characters either with mimicry or a deadpan face, and according to the character he applies irony, cynicism, metaphor, or a grotesque exaggeration. In spite of all this, in all of the characters he portrays he remains himself. Nowicki has also gained official recognition and popularity for his work in television and, more notably, in the theater.