Łoziński has also said that he preferred not to interfere in any way with the lives of his protagonists and has been trying to create devices that would cause the least possible intervention into their privacy and mental balance. At first he used the principle of psychodramatic staging, later he came to apply the system of "quid pro quo", or give and take. Łoziński freely modifies his material in the editing room, uses devices typical for narrative film, as well as instructed actors. He doesn't believe that the truth resides in the unedited record of onscreen reality. It will never be free of manipulation anyway, and it will never capture the entire breadth of things as they really are. That is why he is looking for secondary "fidelity" and "truth" that emerge from situations. The documentary essence of Łoziński's films lies in capturing precisely this surplus value. His films, especially in the 1970s and 80s, are reminiscent of the vérité branch of the Czechoslovak New Wave - actor staging points to the use of non-actors, a seemingly cold, observing eye of the camera accents the unease of any situation, its raw pain, bitter humour and awkwardness. The central motif in the films of this period is the herd mentality of Poles in the socialist regime.
Łoziński's work can be viewed in two chronological stages but it seems more helpful to focus on the development of his method that has been refined outside any linear axis. Still, if we were to stick to chronology for a moment, it is apparent that Łoziński's career reached a turning point with the fall of communism and the arrival of democracy. As long as the communist tyranny lasted, it provided an ample supply of topics. Łoziński felt the need to express his view on man's condition in a society deformed by totalitarianism. Yet from the beginning he made a conscious choice to, as one of his films states, capture the truth so it doesn't hurt, he resorted to the use of psychodrama. He used it in his very first film Happy End (1972), a sophisticated blend of direct cinema, fly on the wall and the directed, staged action of psychodrama. This method, which comes from theatre and para-theatre practice, enhances reality with an element of theatricality. Non-actors, people whose social roles overlap with the roles they play, act out a situation in which a young engineer is charged with failure to do his job, with one group of people supporting and the other turned against the man. As the experiment carries on, the protagonists naturally tend to forget that they are merely playing parts and start to genuinely defend and push their standpoints. Closeness to reality allows them to experience a guided catharsis, a sublimation of their negative emotions. The film pivots around a sort of double trick - people who take part in the psychodramatic therapy believe that they are acting, without realizing how much of themselves they really end up revealing. The viewer for her part faces another twist; at first she believes that this is a real situation but then finds out it was all staged. In the end, though, the viewer understands that she thought she had seen a staged situation that actually turned out to be real.
Łoziński skirts the edge of fiction in How to Live (1977). (Non-)actors whom we recognize from Happy End among the campers at a holiday camp organized by a socialist youth association for young married couples with children. We meet the zealous Zyman who supports the idea of socialist friendship to the letter and forces others to do the same; the Rozhin family on the other hand does not want to participate in the entertainment dictate. With a regular script How to Live resembles films adhering to the Dogme 95 aesthetic principles, namely Idiots, and is permeated with sociological and anthropological elements. It blurs and challenges the border between documentary and fiction, fiction and mockumentary, document and reenactment. It also raises the question of what is truth, what devices can be used to capture the truth and what constitutes documentary truthfulness. The filmmaker strengthens the sense of fuzzy boundaries by creating a narrative with scripted situations (Zyman apparently feels sexual desire for someone else's wife), cardboard antagonists, categorical principles, etc. The film approaches fiction cinema with non-actors. In both films Łoziński tries to pinpoint the broken nature of Polish society under communism, and the devastating effects herd mentality has on individuals.
During the same period, Łoziński was also working on documentaries based on a different method, capturing private stories of people who catch his interest, individuals who from their unique perspective comment on society. The oldest in this rank of film is The Visit (1974). Łoziński attempts to find a way to create a faithful picture of reality without inflicting pain. Yet his search was in vain at this stage and his protagonist ends up being exposed to a sharp confrontation with a reporter that borders on aggressive. The protagonist is Urszula, a single farmer and an intellectual who reads sophisticated literature and likes the theatre. She is viewed as misfit both by her neighbours and apparently by the media as well. Łoziński sets up an experiment to reveal what she is really like. The reporter who is conducting the test overwhelms the inquisitive and not so bright village residents but mostly Urszula with concocted declarations and postulates. With purposely chosen devices the reporter gets Urszula's tears, doubts, sadness but fails to win her openness. Łoziński revisited Urszula twenty-three years later in So It Doesn´t Hurt (1998), that time with a new attitude. We see a multiple confrontation - between the original film and the new one, between Urszula and old photos, between the filmmakers and Urszula. Łoziński explores the possibilities of his "give and take" method, that is, if he wants private facts from his protagonist, he must give up some of his own in exchange. If he demands self-probe from his onscreen subjects, he must undergo the same process as well. The method is a success and the filmmaker manages to get closer to Urszula. Although one cannot say that the experience is no longer painful, it is definitely a shared pain now.
Other films in this group include The King (1974) and Front Collision (1975), each with its own formal quirk and each displaying Łoziński's inventiveness and the need for creative improvement. The King was made by chance on a trip home from shooting The Visit. The crew made a stop at a bar and the owner, a talkative and self-satisfied man, told them his life story. The filmmakers taped it and then played it for the bar owner, capturing his reactions. Individual statements are accompanied by brief shots from the man's life that are literal to the point of being comical. Tension is provided by minute twitches in the man's face as he is confronted with his own words. He gives a quick frown when he talks about making uniforms for German soldiers during the occupation; he throws a probing glance around for signs of disagreement when he listens to himself claim that he is universally respected and liked. The filmmaker needs nothing more than the confrontation between the sound and the image to play out this mini-drama. In Front Collision Łoziński points out the unjust way society treats individuals. He employs a variety of devices, such as boosting the sound effects track and blending it with separate images, which contributes to the sense of "artifice" in his films that are made according to his guided, planned and deliberately executed plan. The protagonist is a retired train driver who talks about himself in the third person. Dressed in a uniform, he apparently recites his own life story as if speaking about someone else. This is interspersed with repeated scenes of tiring, monotonous work, early rising, identical scenery viewed from the train. Yet all this means the world to the train driver. Shortly before retiring, he caused an accident that completely erased long years of loyal service. As a result he was quietly discarded, without any accolades and farewell celebration. The filmmaker sets out to mend this by meticulously staging a tribute for him. For the first time, colour enters Łoziński's films, implying imagination and perhaps a better, more just version of reality that did not occur. With the same purpose, colour appears in How to Live to stress its pseudo-documentary nature as well as in My Place (1985). According to some critics, Front Collison like Wajda's Man of Marble (1976) spotlights the slave-like status of the worker. Regardless, the most important is his method of cathartic psychotherapy in which the filmmaker puts a person into an emotionally difficult situation and forces her to re-live it and, ideally, to leave it behind.
Over time Łoziński has also come to make films that capture extraordinary situations, moments in which emotions are strongly involved. He leaves them without commentary because they speak for themselves. They serve as a paperweight in the viewer's mind, holding all accumulated questions and feelings firmly in place until the viewer has had a chance to sift through them. The Touch (1978) draws its power from a remarkable healer who healed people by touch in the late 1970s. Łoziński simply observes without judging, investigating or checking. The same sparse devices are used in Matriculation (1978). High school students at a graduation exam offer nothing but ideologically tainted babble, only saying what the teachers want to hear. The film unmasks the boundless stupidity and bloated gloating of a political system that has made itself the only truth and the universal cornerstone. Łoziński has applied this style even after 1989, for instance, in the Academy Award winning 89 mm from Europe (1993) and Poste Restante (2009).
With the arrival of democracy, Łoziński had to pick a new subject. He was aware that up until then he focused on unmasking the terrible nature of the collective self. In this sense, a new breakthrough came with Anything Can Happen (1995) in which Łoziński applied his give and take approach for the first time. His six-year-old son Tomek is the one who gives in this case. He spends the day in the park with his father, exploring the world and striking up conversations with old people who rest on the benches. Łoziński works with the camera and his son who invades the life of the seniors with the guileless directness and cruelty of little children. He presents them with his company and closeness, while picking up their intimate pain and thoughts. Twelve years later, father and son return to the park in If It Happens (2007). The film is almost entirely composed of conjuring up Tomek's memories to recreate the same situations from years before. Film allows a six-year-old to meet and talk to an eighteen-year-old. Moreover, what's undeniably ingenious about the film is that its nature and story are expressed in absence (i.e., of old people on benches, fulfilling childhood ideas, etc.).
Łoziński's latest film, Tonia and Her Children (2011), synthesizes the filmmaker's experience and results. Łoziński is in the shot the whole time and the film is set at a table in a single room, tense concentration diluted only by old photos and film footage. The director sits at the table with two friends, siblings Werka and Marcel. They've all known each other since childhood and they share similar life stories. In 1949 Werka and Marcel's mother was sentenced to six years in communist prison, despite being a devoted communist herself. Her sentence was simply absurd and cruel nonsense. For the first time, son Marcel is confronted with some facts, in the past he wouldn't discuss the past with his sister and Łoziński arranges a session with a psychotherapist. Together, the three friends undergo the painful process of remembering, read old letters and documents, and talk about things that have been buried. Whenever Łoziński feels his friends and protagonists suffer too much, he jumps in with his own memory, a give and take approach to redistribute pain and offer some relief to his friends. At the same time, they all undergo a cathartic process that involves dealing with one's innermost demons yet this time things are not reenacted but evoked. Masterfully blending his well-tried methods, Łoziński has come up with a moving, humble, profound and deeply personal film. He handles strong and multi-layered emotions and the viewer cannot help but join in the protagonists' cleansing. Perhaps this finally quells Łoziński's desire to alleviate the pain that's being inflicted – as long as those in front of the camera and those behind the camera can share the burden with those in front of the screen, the pain will be somewhat easier to carry.