During funeral ceremonies in the southern city of Katowice, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński said in a letter that Kutz was “one of the most outstanding film, television and theatre directors out there.”
Gliński also wrote in his letter that Kutz “had entered the pantheon of Polish and world cinema as a co-founder of the Polish school of filmmaking.”
Deputy Culture Minister Paweł Lewandowski read out the message as family, friends and fans were paying their last respects.
Kutz was born on February 16, 1929, in Szopienice, now a district of Katowice, in the southern industrial region of Upper Silesia.
He directed his first film in 1959, soon after graduating from the famed film school in Łódź. This was after he had already worked several years as an assistant to Andrzej Wajda, including as second director on the iconic Canal.
An eminent representative of the "Polish school of filmmaking" of the late 1950s and the 1960s, he spoke about his strong ties to Upper Silesia in his pictures.
Among his best-known work was his Silesian triptych. The first in the series, the 1970 Salt of the Black Earth, based on his own screenplay, is considered to be a classic of Polish cinema.
In the 1990s, he also directed a film about nine miners killed by communist riot police in December 1981 at the Wujek coal mine in southern Poland several days after the imposition of martial law.
As he once said in an interview for Polish Radio, he believed that his profession forced him to testify to the place from where he came.
He is credited with bringing an understanding of Silesia to the general public in Poland, and he continued to be a champion for the region also during his time in the Polish parliament.
Between 2001 and 2005 he was a deputy Speaker of the Senate, the upper house of the Polish legislature, and then an MP from 2007 to 2011.
Kutz was also renowned for his theatrical productions and especially his made-for-television dramas for public broadcaster TVP.
He was co-founder of the Association of Polish Filmmakers and a winner of many film awards, among them the Golden Lions and Platinum Lions at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and the Polish Film Prize.
He died on December 18 in Warsaw.