"Rybczyński was born in Łódź in 1949. He finished an art high school in Warsaw. After graduation, Rybczyński worked in the Studio Miniatur Filmowych... As a member of the vanguard group Warsztat Formy Filmowej, Rybczyński did the camerawork on a few etudes, features and short films...Upon graduating in 1973, Rybczyński went on to make animated films at the Se-Ma-For Study in Łódź. He spent two years in Vienna on a Polish Film contract, mostly teaching. After Tango, a film produced at Se-Ma-For, which won an Oscar in 1983, Rybczyński decided to stay and work in the US, initially making short video films and music videos commissioned by TV channels.
... In 1986 he started using High Definition, a computer-integrated system, and in 1987 opened his own studio, Zbig Vision Studio, in Hoboken near New York. Rybczyński became a highly popular maker of music videos, creating approximately 30 of them in a span of three years, including the remarkable work that became the video for John Lennon's Imagine.
... At the time Rybczyński worked closely with the painter Miłosz Benedyktowicz, using his set design ideas. In 1992 Rybczyński, who had veered from commercial to more ambitious art, was no longer able to support the production and was forced to close his Studio.
.... In 2009, after years of working abroad, Rybczyński has decided to come back to Poland. He took up the position of the head of Drimage – 3D Animation & VFX Academy, established in association with Wyższa Szkoła Biznesu – National Louis University in Nowy Sącz. He also run a school called Wrocław Visual Technology Studios...
Film critics tend to hail Zbigniew Rybczyński the contemporary Mélies. As Marcin Giżycki wrote:
Rybczyński belongs to the line of Mélies's descendants, the cinematic craftsmen combining extraordinary plastic imagination with an aptitude for inventing and constructing, and endowed with Benedictine patience.
.... According to what he has professed in a number of interviews, Rybczyński went to study camerawork so that he could make films entirely on his own rather than relying on co-operation between the director and cameramen....
From 1972 onwards Rybczyński worked on his own films, notably Square, Take Five and Plamuz. These early works, in which Rybczyński experimented with the form, are characterised by the prominence of dynamic, changing abstract forms and synchronisation of the picture with the music. Soup (1974), which portrayed an ordinary daily routine presented in a way unattainable by the senses, was the first film to delineate the artistic path which Rybczyński would consistently follow in his later productions.
Rybczyński explains his artistic creed in an interview given to the film critic Tadeusz Sobolewski:
The film was invented to register the world. Yet then they noticed that if more pictures were shot and then played at a normal speed, you would see the world in a slow motion. The camera that was meant to re-create the reality began to see record much more than we do.
Rybczyński, who considers the human perception of the world limited and relative, looks for ways to find a new point of view and wants to see more, better and differently, for example a few places at one time, like in New Book, or one place at many times, like in Tango, and involves the spectator in the play with time and space. Tadeusz Sobolewski has called the trick of dividing the screen into parts, used by Rybczyński in New Book, 'the simultaneity of story-telling'. Rybczyński enhanced it further in the famous two-minute commercial of the GMF Group insurance company, showing a number of scenes of daily lives of families dwelling in a twelve-storey high-rise simultaneously, each floor symbolising a different life stage.
.... Rybczyński is fascinated with creating new worlds, his own reality: 'I want people to look at films without regarding them as imitations of the world', said Rybczyński in the above-cited interview. His role-models are Walt Disney, the creator of the cartoon reality of the world, as well as Chaplin and Lucas 'who did not imitate the reality, but enriched it'.
Rybczyński builds the world of his films in a Demiurgic manner, making creative use of archetypal motifs, clichés and pastiches of well-known works. Miłosz Benedyktowicz, a painter who worked for a few years with Rybczyński, described his work - 'What he creates is basically a manipulation of time and space. He is not much interested in reality or history of art at the moment -he borrows freely from all painting as needed'.
Rybczyński's artistic goals make him reach out far....
Frankly speaking, it would be wonderful to have a technique allowing to make paintings and whatever scenes, landscapes, props you want. To free oneself from reality, from the so-called realism, which is not realism at all. To free oneself from the realism of the circumstances existing only and exclusively at a certain place and time, for the reality is in us and not in some 'objective' world. The world exists in our imagination, in our experiences, memories, conjectures, anxieties'.
....The technological capabilities of HD provide for an integrated use of a video tape and a computer, and so the montage capabilities are huge. Rybczyński in an interview given to Maria Kornatowska in 1987:
A traditional film picture once fixed on the tape, can be modified only to a small extent and the montage combinations are limited. The electronic picture can be electronically processed to create a new reality, non-existent in front of the camera. You can make non-existent sceneries, remove people and objects from the shots and bring them in exactly where you would dream them to be. You can make all sorts of wonders, play a sorcerer.
..., The substance of animation in all of Rybczyński's films is the pre-registered reality. All of his films are about the same thing: searching for different ways of creating the film narrative, attempting to break away from the limitations of montage, sequential shots and sets and moving to one set.
... The prominent theme of his films is usually referred to as 'travelling through life' or 'reflection on human fate', that is on the banality and inevitability of all the events from birth to death and of the death itself. Can this be reconciled with all of the prestidigitatory, technological tricks applied in his works? The answer is 'yes', for Rybczyński's art successfully bridges all such contradictions."