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Filmmaker Wojciech Has Dies

October 3, 2000

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Polish filmmaker Wojciech Has, who won an international cult following with ``The Saragossa Manuscript″ and headed Poland’s renowned Lodz Film School in the 1990s, died Tuesday. He was 75.

Has, who suffered from diabetes and underwent surgery twice in September, died at a hospital in Lodz, said the head of the school’s directing department, Juliusz Janicki.

Has gained worldwide fame in 1964 with ``The Saragossa Manuscript,″ which won prizes at European festivals.

Based on a 19th-century novel by Polish aristocrat Jan Potocki, the black-and-white film follows the haunting, supernatural adventures of a Belgian army captain in Spain’s Sierra Morena.

Other Has works include ``The Loop″ in 1954, ``Shared Room″ in 1959, ``The Doll″ in 1968 and ``The Hourglass Sanatorium,″ which won the top prize at the Cannes festival in 1973.

Has headed the Indeks Foundation, created in 1990 to help graduates of the Lodz Film School launch careers and raise money when state subsidies for films dried up after communism’s collapse in 1989. He headed the Lodz school from 1990 to 1996.

``He never imposed his viewpoint, but protected and encouraged the individual style of young artists. He was a great friend of young people,″ a close associate at Indeks, Konstanty Lewkowicz, said.

Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda said: ``An important part of Poland’s film art departs with Has, who dedicated his whole life, his talent and his great heart to it.″

Has is survived by his wife, Wanda, and a son, Marek, who lives in Sweden.

Associates said he is to be buried later this week in Lodz, which he adopted as his hometown after moving there from Krakow in 1970.

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