Krzysztof Kieslowski

Born June 27, 1941, in Warsaw, Poland, and raised under the specter of Hitler and Stalin, director Krzysztof Kieslowski turned to filmmaking to avoid military service, in the process becoming one of the most important voices of Polish cinema.

Upon graduating from Lodz Film School in 1965, Kieslowski focused almost exclusively on documentaries, an artistically and commercially viable form in the communist-controlled Poland of the 1960s and '70s. Despite a string of acclaimed documentaries in his homeland, Kieslowski didn't achieve international recognition until the release of his 1979 satire Camera Buff.

After relocating to France in the early '90s, Kieslowski completed a quartet of films that would become the most successful of his career: The Double Life of Veronique and his Three Colors trilogy, Blue, White and Red -- the last of which earned him an Oscar nod. Kieslowski died in 1996.