Allan Starski was born in Warsaw in 1943. He is the son of Ludwik Starski, screenwriter and songwriter of Jewish descent who was very popular in the 1930s and ’40s. In 1969, he graduated with a degree in architecture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and in 1973 he debuted as PD on Ryszard Bera’s Boys, which Andrzej Wajda saw and invited him to work on his 1976 filmThe Shadow Line. They later collaborated on ten films, including Man of Marble, Man of Iron (the 1981 Venice Golden Lion Award winner), and Danton (1982), a big French co-production starring Gerard Depardieu, which opened the door of Europe to him.
He worked with Agnieska Holland on Europa Europa and Washington Square, with Krzysztof Kieslovwski on No End, with Jerzy Stuhr on Love Stories, but his greatest success came in 1993 when he won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (shared with Ewa Braun) for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. In 2002, Starski won the French Cesar Award for Roman Polanski‘s The Pianist, and together they also madeOliver Twist (2005).
In a 2014 interview for Film Doctor, he said of Spielberg and Polanski: “[…] they have a very strong vision and knowledge of what they want to do. This is what I like in a director – he should know what he wants in the movie. If directors are obsessed with what they do, it’s good.”
Allan Starski’s latest work was on Fatih Akin’s visually stunning The Cut.