Agnieszka Holland – Aktorzy prowincjonalni AKA Provincial Actors (1979)

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Talented Polish director Agnieszka Holland who would be better known in later years because of her films like Europa, Europa (1991) or some of her American works like Washington Square (1997), hits the mark early and again with this ostensible story about provincial actors in Poland. In reality, the comedy-drama can be read as a commentary on the contemporary Polish scene in politics and society. The story begins as a savvy director arrives in a small town to put on a stage play. His leading man is filled with insecurities and goes beyond the confines of his lead role to expand his part, restore his cut lines, and generally outdo himself while taking on some of everyone else’s job, including the director’s. No one wants to lose him because of his drawing power, and the director is caught in a bind. At the same time, the lead actor’s wife is slowly losing her chances at success, being relegated to a much lesser position in the troupe. This fine comedy won the Fipresci award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Goraczka aka Fever (1981)

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The film is set in 1905, in a time of feverish revolutionary underground activity in Poland partitioned between three neighbours. All the characters are committed anarchists. The bomb maker puts an invention together to place it at the disposal of young inexperienced terrorists fighting against Tsarist oppression. The story follows the passing of this bomb from anarchist to anarchist as several attempts are made on the life of Tsarist governor general, until, at the end, it is effectively and harmlessly defused by a bomb expert. The presence of the bomb has a destroying effect on all of the Polish revolutionaries, they either die or breakdown. Written by Polish Cinema Database Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Hori­ci ker AKA Burning Bush (2013)

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Burning Bush is a three-part mini-series created for HBO by world-renowned Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. Dagmar Buresová, a young female lawyer, became part of his legacy by defending Jan’s family in a trial against the communist government, a regime which tried to dishonour Palach’s sacrifice, a heroic action for the freedom of Czechoslovakia.
( HBO Europe)
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Agnieszka Holland – Kobieta samotna AKA A Woman Alone (1981)

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A story of a middle-aged woman, Irena, living alone on the outskirts of Wroclaw with her 8-year old son. They live in a drab apartment. She is a mail carrier and her son is her only pride and joy. She hardly communicates with anybody else in a humanly open and natural way. She also cares for a sick relative. One day when delivering a monthly pension to a crippled young miner Jacek, she faints at his doorsteps. Even though she is determined to live alone after divorcing her drunken first husband, she also knows that her boy needs a male figure to correct his bad habits. She also needs a man badly. The love affair between Jacek and Irena begins however their first physical encounter shatters them both. Irena has a lot of problems: her son makes a lot of trouble at school, and at work her supervisor wants to take her route and give it to somebody else. Finally, the sick relative dies, and she is hit with the funeral bill instead with the expected inheritance. She steals pensioners’ money she should be delivering. Tells Jacek that she indeed has received inheritance, places her son in a boaring institution and buys a used car for a trip to West Berlin, opting to immigrate. Now the accident happens… Written by Polish Cinema Database link (link) Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Aktorzy prowincjonalni aka Provincial Actors (1979)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Talented Polish director Agnieszka Holland who would be better known in later years because of her films like Europa, Europa (1991) or some of her American works like Washington Square (1997), hits the mark early and again with this ostensible story about provincial actors in Poland. In reality, the comedy-drama can be read as a commentary on the contemporary Polish scene in politics and society. The story begins as a savvy director arrives in a small town to put on a stage play. His leading man is filled with insecurities and goes beyond the confines of his lead role to expand his part, restore his cut lines, and generally outdo himself while taking on some of everyone else’s job, including the director’s. No one wants to lose him because of his drawing power, and the director is caught in a bind. At the same time, the lead actor’s wife is slowly losing her chances at success, being relegated to a much lesser position in the troupe. This fine comedy won the Fipresci award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

allmovie.com Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – The Secret Garden (1993)

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The 1993 remake of The Secret Garden is a beautifully produced rendition of the classic Frances Hodgon Burnett novel about a young girl (Kate Maberly) who discovers an abandoned garden on her uncle’s large Victorian country estate, as well as an invalid cousin she didn’t realize she had. With the help of a local boy, the girl sets out to restore the garden and, once it is blooming again, she discovers it has magical powers. After it has flowered, she brings her cousin to the garden, and he is magically healed. Although this version of The Secret Garden isn’t quite as strong as the original 1949 movie, the story is nevertheless moving in any format and the production is very beautiful to look at. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine @ All Movie Guide Continue reading