Friday, January 7, 2022

Józef Kłyk – Amateur Polish Western Filmmaker

 Józef Kłyk was born in Bojszowy near Pszczyna in 1950. He is a Silesian amateur filmmaker, author of over 80 films on, among others, western and historical. On the set, he performs all possible functions, from the director, through the makeup artist, actor and set designer, to the camera operator and producer. Józef Kłyk not only films the Wild West, but also paints it.

He discovered his love of film in his teens. In 1967, as a seventeen-year-old boy, he found employment in a traveling cinema, helping a cinematographer. At the same time, he made his first film, a parody of Charlie Chaplin, then it was the turn of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and other silent stars. Then there was a 50-minute paradocument "Towards Poland", about the fate of Silesian insurgents. It is best known for the so-called "Silesian westerns", referring to the popular genre of American cinema and shot by own means in the vicinity of Pszczyna with the participation of friends and acquaintances. Some of these works tell about the fate of Silesian emigrants in the USA.

   Józef Kłyk is probably the most famous Polish amateur filmmaker. His spectacularly realized films attracted the attention of the media from all over the world. Kłyk is one of the best promoters of Upper Silesia in the country and abroad. He is known as the creator of a peculiar world cinema - Silesian Western. His film trilogy about the Wild West ("Man from Nowhere", "Full Death", "Free Man") tells about the fate of Silesians who traveled for bread as far as Texas in the second half of the nineteenth century. Józef Kłyk can be considered the precursor of fan-film in Poland.

   As a teenager, he was interested in westerns, so he made Wild West in Bojszowy. At that time, he came across literature on Silesians in Miss Maria in Texas and this is how the film "The Emigrant" was made in 1970. Then he deepened his studies on Silesian Texans, inspiring the filmmaker to make a larger production, which later turned into a trilogy. The first part is entitled "Man from Nowhere". It is the story of a Silesian, Wawrzyn Złotka, who fled to America during the partitions and lands in Texas, where he meets his compatriot. The film received the journalists' award at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. Józef Kłyk was honored for "reaching the roots of cinema and for outstanding artistic values". A film was also made about the creator of "Man from Nowhere". Wanted. The further fate of Wawrzyn Złotka can be found in another Kłyk's western "Full Death", which was created in 1984–86. The main character puts himself in danger of the Ku Klux Klan organization and decides to return to his home country, Bojsz. This story could have happened for real. After reading and listening to all these stories, Józef Kłyk stated that the Boyszów landscape was similar to that of Texas. The Gostynka rivers and the beautiful old Korzyniec can boldly "play" the American Rio Grande and San Antonio in his films. The heroes of Kłyk's productions are his friends, acquaintances and family. There is one condition: the actor must use the Silesian dialect and come from the area. During almost half a century, the filmmaker made Bojszowy famous all over the world. Film crews from the United States, Germany, Austria, Canada come here,

The most important western film productions of Józef Kłyk

“Wolny człowiek” (FreeMan) 60 min. (1974/75) 

“Śmiertelny full” (Deadly Full) 60 min. (1977–79) 

“Człowiek znikąd – Szlakiem bezprawia” (Man from Nowhere – Tail of Lawlessness) 90 min.


“Full śmierci – Szlakiem bezprawia” (Full of Death – Trail of Lawlessness) 100 min. (1984–86) 

“Wolny człowiek – Szlakiem bezprawia” (Free Man – Trail of Lawlessness) 120 min. (1988–


“Różaniec z kolczastego drutu” (Barbed Wire Rosary) 36 min. (1998/99) 

“Dwaj z Teksasu” (Two from Texas) 48 min. (1999/2000) 

“Czterech synów ojciec miał” (The Father had Four Sons) 54 min. (2001–03)

“Bracia” (Brothers) 55 min. (2006)

“Śląski szeryf” (ukończenie produkcji planowane na 2014 (Silesian Sheriff) (production completed for the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Silesians in Texas)



The Award of the Silesian Film Society Norbert Boronowski

Journalists' Award at the Polish Feature Film Festival in 1984 for the film "Man from Nowhere"

Grand Prix of the National Amateur Film Competition in Konin in 2000.

Badge of Honor "Meritorious for Polish Culture" awarded by the Minister of National Culture

Prize of the Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation San Antonio Texas for combining the Silesian and Texas cultures in 2004.

Two awards of the Mayor of Pszczyna in the field of artistic creativity



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