What's been lost is allowing cinema to be artful, playful, to have ambiguity, to have form, to be contemplative, to wish to be art. This slightly timeless approach to reality, like Chekhov in literature, where you look at all humanity and try to find what's transcendent.
My father's mother was a secular Jew who died in Auschwitz. I only found out as an adult because my father never talked about it. He was a secularist and never defined himself in ethnic terms - partly, I think, because he was scared; partly out of the habit of not talking of such things; partly because he didn't like being defined by other people.
Just by my home is an entrance to the sewers they used in the Warsaw uprising. I grew up knowing people died down there. Warsaw was once a battleground; then it became a morgue. It's a city littered with ghosts. And that never left me.
I come from a magnetic field of Catholicism. I was baptised by my mother's family, who were all traditional Catholics. But my mother was the black sheep of the family - she ran away to the ballet at 17.
I always write three or four projects at the same time. They're stories that I want to tell, and usually I dump them unfinished for the next one in order not to get too cornered and depressed about it.
I grew up cinematically in the '70s. I was watching a lot of Godard, Bresson, Dreyer, and all sorts of old films and the Czech New Wave.
It's much better to write a book and stick to the research - that's history. In cinema, emotional truth and psychological truth is much more important.
I grew up in a secular environment, you know, in the '60s and '70s. My mother's family was Catholic, but you know, just very kind of conventionally Catholic. You know, nothing - there was nothing, you know, extreme about their version of religion. And my father was a free spirit, you know? He had no time for religion at all.
For me, filmmaking is not exactly a career. I was never in it for Hollywood or anything. My films are markers of where I am in life, where I am in my head. So that's what I'm working on, and I try to keep things in proportion - life and filmmaking. One feeds into the other.
I try to turn a place on film into a mental state. I always have three or four locations that I repeat and return to in a film, to make it more mythic. But my fiction films are relatively subjective stories, experienced though one character. And that always justifies a little stylisation in terms of landscape.
'Ida' doesn't set out to explain history. That's not what it's about. The story is focused on very concrete and complex characters who are full of humanity with all its paradoxes. They're not pawns used to illustrate some version of history or an ideology.
I think people crave those meaningful situations, stuff about faith, identity, dilemmas of live paradoxes in our souls. It's going back to a time where lives were really defined by history, and also how you behave in the face of history. It's kind of interesting to go back to that simpler humanity, simpler but deeper.
The documentaries I made were never normal documentaries. They were about subjects I was obsessed with, and I suppose I thought I could sculpt them. What I think I do with my fiction is the same.
I love good TV shows, but it's not what I do. I kind of sculpt my films as I go along. And TV is all about writing, so you just shoot, shoot, shoot what's written.
Strangely, you know, my parents, who left Poland separately and, you know, divorced, ended up marrying other people. But then they met again abroad, and they got together again.